Automatic Fish Feeders are Dangerous

Please use caution if you absolutely must use an automatic fish feeder.

Remember that fish can go a long time without eating.

That said, I’ve done much research into fish feeders and none of them are perfect.

The best I’ve managed to find is

Autopet feeder medium

Autopet feeder medium

Automatic fish and pet feeders for aquaponics

Again, they are not perfect. They do not seal to keep all moisture/humidity out and it is possible for rodents to try to climb up the feed shoot and start chewing on the auger and get at the feed. They won’t keep bugs/ants out of the feed either.

The really good thing about these feeders is they are auger feeders and so move a fairly precise amount of food based on how long you let the timer run and the timers can be set right down to the second unlike most pet feeders which will usually feed too much for a fish tank.

The medium and large feeders also have an additional agitator up in the feed hopper to help keep the feed from getting wedged up out of the reach of the auger.

Automatic feeders are dangerous for a few reasons.

1-it is easy to mess up when setting the timers (ever mis-set an alarm clock for pm instead of am?)

2-the feeders can’t take things like temperature, weather, stressful events etc when they feed, they simply feed for as long as they are set to. This is dangerous because if you have the feed set appropriately for certain conditions and then you go away for a week and a freak cold spell comes through, the feeder may be feeding far too much for the temperature. I know this is dangerous, I killed a whole tank of fish this way.

3-if you get lazy and let the feeder do the feeding and don’t go observe how much the fish are actually eating to keep it closely adjusted to the appropriate amount, you can easily miss a water quality problem until it’s too late. If you carefully observe how your fish are eating on a daily basis you will be far more likely to notice when they go off their tucker and you may figure out why before it turns into a disaster.

I have used the feeders and I found I needed to wrap them up a bit in hardware cloth to keep the rodents from chewing on them too much. If you must use feeders, I recommend feeding lightly with them and supplementing by had when you are available. When you leave town, I recommend reducing feed even more or possibly not feeding at all or at least tell the person who checks on things that if they see a dead fish, to first remove the dead fish from the system and second, unplug the feeder so it won’t feed anymore till you can get home and check on things.

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