I know many of you have a lot more experience with fish feeders but I thought I would share my experience so far. I was going away and Ron hadn't built one for me yet so I took a chance and bought this one from Amazon. Petmate Le Bistro Portion-Control Automatic Pet Feeder
Description "The Petmate LeBistro 10-pound programmable feeder faithfully delivers portion-controlled meals to your dog or cat while you are away and relieves you of the daily chore of scooping and measuring. The stylishly-designed unit dispenses portions that you select ranging from 1/4 to 3 cups and dispenses them up to three times per day. It's perfect for pets who need a little weight management.
Easy Programming for Portion Control
Programming is as easy as setting the alarm clock using the large LCD screen. Just 3 buttons take you through the process. There’s even a meal counter. The Petmate LeBistro programmable feeder holds 10 pounds of food and accommodates a full range of dry food sizes, shapes, and types. The food hopper is conveniently transparent for monitoring food levels at a glance and has a handy twist-lock lid to keep the food secure.
Removable Bowl Makes Cleaning a Snap
The bowl is easily removable for cleaning and is top-shelf dishwasher safe. The Petmate LeBistro 10-pound programmable feeder is very energy efficient, allowing 3 D-cell alkaline batteries (not included) to power the unit for up to six months. A low-battery indicator lets you know when the batteries need to be changed. Assembles easily in minutes with no tools. It measures 16”x10”x19” and includes a one-year limited warranty."
Here are some pics of my installation.
pdf of the manual. It can also have an AC adapter.
I know some folks here will choke on the price of these. From my experience these are extremely reliable, require no electricity, and are unaffected by feed size. If you set it up right I doubt rodents will be a big problem. I used to work for an aquaculture research facility and a very well know aquarium and have used quite a few of the commercial feeders. I like these the best.The clocks work well (come in a 12 hour and 24 hour version). I picked up a used one my previous employer was going to throw out, put a new clock on it and have been using it daily for a year now. All I do is wipe off the belt and load the feed.
You should look into Moultrie automated wildlife feeders- I can usually find them for less than $40 refurbished online. Add a plastic bag for a skirt to direct the feed downward and you've got an automated, large-capacity feeder for cheap.
I've been running mine for 3 years now with no problems. You need to replace the lantern battery every year or year and a half.
I have used these in the past- also refurbished ones that come complete from Moultrie (I think I got those for $40 apiece or so.)
I struggled with the Moulgrie feeders at one point in time (I'm not sure which particular model I tried compared to yours.) I think my two main problems with them were...
1-the timer was too limited for a small home system that might only want to feed a few seconds worth of feed. Essentially, it fed too much and could only do it once or twice a day.
2-no aggitator inside the bucket and no slope to where the feed enters the dispenser so there would always be quite a bit of old feed that would never make it out of the bucket.
I have one game feeder I'm now using to dispense scratch to the chickens but my problem with that one had been that it tended to feed way too much and whenever a squirrel or other critter or wind bumped it, it would drop feed too so didn't work for the aquaponics outdoors though a bag or chunk of liner would have kept the feed from going out of the tank. The other feeder was designed to flip feed into a farm pond and it didn't drop feed when jostled but it was designed to throw the feed far so it whipped the feed like bullets and even after we replaced the metal spinner with rubber it still tended to whip the feed pretty extensively and again hand the hopper issues and kinda limited programing.
The pet feeders I'm using now are costly but they are much more precise in the amount of feed dropped (I have control right down to the second and can feed up to 8 times a day,) it is an auger feeder but there is also an agitator up in the hopper to keep feed from wedging and there is a little slope to the bottom of the hopper so not as much old feed wasted caught around the edges. Just wish it was easier to make them weather, bug and rodent proof.
Of course this time of year with it getting cold I'll probably shut off the feeders when I leave town for a week since I'm probably better off letting the fish go hungry instead of risking an overfeeding incident.