Have you ever had the problem that you can’t find someone to feed your fish? Or worse yet, don’t you trust your aquatic friends to be properly fed?
An automatic fish feeder is a great solution for feeding your fish while you’re away from home, whether you’re going on vacation or off to work.
We can also add that if you are a bit clueless, an automatic dispenser will keep your pets fed even if you forget to give them food.
No matter if you need to feed your pets in a small tank, a large saltwater tank, or in your pond, there is sure to be an automatic fish feeder to suit your needs.
For many aquarists, an automatic fish food dispenser is one of the most useful aquarium accessories in aquarium equipment.
But among the wide range of devices on the market, how do you know which automatic fish feeder is best for your tank?
Today, I am going to answer that question and a few more. We’ll take a look at how these devices work, plus take a quick look at the best automatic fish feeders for their design, performance, and ease of use.
Comparative table of the best automatic fish feeders
The best automatic fish feeders
If the feed fails, your friends starve. If you overdo it, you run the risk of ammonia spikes, which can be just as deadly.
That is why it is very important to choose a good automatic fish food dispenser, not only to keep your fish fed, but also safe.
That is why we are going to see a list of the best automatic fish feeders.
Eheim AutoFeeder 3581 Programmable Automatic Fish Feeder
The Eheim 3581 Automatic Fish Feeder offers great value for money, and is ideal for everyday use. It’s easy to use, very reliable when you’re on the go and the added features make it very versatile.
Except for the largest flakes and sticks, the Eheim fish feeder is capable of dispensing all the usual foods. You can use various sizes of pellets, flakes or any other dry food you want.
Once properly adjusted, the various sized pellets, flakes, and freeze -dried bloodworms all ship out in fairly consistent portions.
The device is not bulky or heavy. The assembly instructions are very easy to follow, it comes with a universal clamp that simplifies the installation process. In addition, it adapts to a wide range of aquariums, being equally functional in aquariums with a lid than without it.
The high-quality LCD screen and buttons are highly resistant to splashes of water, providing many years of life. Also, they are a great advantage as they help to program the device much more easily.
Setting it up is very simple and provides great flexibility.
You have the possibility to program the feeder to dispense up to 4 times a day. And each time, the container can be made to rotate once or twice, depending on the amount of food you want to dispense. On the other hand, it has a built-in slider that allows you to adjust the portion as you like.
You can also dispense food manually with the food dispensing button.
To keep food dry, the feeder includes a fan and a ventilation system that prevents food from getting wet and caked.
- Can store a large amount of food, providing up to 6 weeks of food
- Comes with a ventilation system that prevents food from getting wet
- You can program it to spin once or twice per feeding
- Large LCD screen with high quality buttons
- Includes a universal mounting bracket
- The fan only works when the unit is dispensing food.
- Slider adjustment can be easily moved
Fish Mate F14 by Agrobiothers Automatic feeder for fish
This fish feeder is suitable for small and medium aquariums, and is recommended when you have few individuals.
As seen, the device is slightly different from the others. Instead of having a rotating drum, this model incorporates a multi-tray food container.
It has 14 rations with fish food that allow to provide up to 4 meals each day. It also has the added benefit of allowing you to mix and match foods.
Another advantage of the tray system is that by filling only every other tray, you can have this fish feeder dispense food every other day.
Of course, the tray system has its downside, it stores less food than the rotating barrel type. But that’s the trade-off for accuracy.
It has no buttons, just a quartz timer and 4 little red pegs to set meal times. The timer allows you to set up to 4 meals at selected intervals.
At mealtime, the container rotates and dispenses an entire tray, but gradually, over a 2-hour period. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a manual release button.
The food container is transparent, as well as the hopper. In this way, you can know how many servings are left. You can use it in multiple types of aquariums and it has 2 mounting options, on the lid or on the edge of the aquarium.
Users who have tried it have commented that the downward opening of the dispenser makes the food pick up more moisture than other fish feeders.
Fortunately, the Fish Mate F14 has a clever trick: it has an air attachment that allows you to connect this fish feed dispenser to the air pump. With the air constantly blowing over the food, any trace of moisture is removed.
Lastly, the Fish Mate F14 feeder lets you know when it’s time to change the battery, so there’s no chance of the device going dead.
- Ingenious design with 14 individual food trays promotes a balanced diet
- Possibility of connecting the feeder to the air pump to prevent moisture from accumulating
- High quality quartz timer
- It takes up to 2 hours to dispense the food, which is better for the health of the fish.
- Includes brackets that allow it to be installed on the edge of the aquarium
- There is no manual release button
- The battery is not included
IntelliFeed Aquarium Fish Feeder Automatic Fish Feeder
Excess moisture in food can cause it to go rancid or worse, spoil.
This is a problem that affects any automatic fish feeder with an always open dispenser. This is basically inviting moisture into the feeder.
The best way to prevent fish food from clumping is to prevent water from reaching it altogether, and that’s where IntelliFeed is a specialist.
The unique design of the IntelliFeed keeps the food container completely sealed when not in use. As mealtime approaches, the container opens, dispensing the food before closing again.
Although the IntelliFeed is the best option if you have moisture problems, it has to be said that this feeder is expensive. For the same price, you can buy almost three Eheim fish feeders.
In terms of installation, it is very versatile as it easily adapts to most aquariums. It can be mounted both on the side of the aquarium and on the deck. And it has rubber suction cups to increase stability when placed on the aquarium lid.
It has an LCD screen and digital buttons that allow you to program the device without any difficulty. Up to 12 shots can be programmed per day. By default it comes pre-programmed with two daily shots.
In addition, the adjustable slider allows you to control the amount of food released into the aquarium. There is also the option of manual feeding if the adjustment button is pressed.
Since the container can store food for up to 4 weeks of feeding, it is ideal for aquariums with many fish. The container is also transparent, and although it is not something new, it is very useful since you will always know how much food is left.
It offers the possibility that you can buy the 6-volt power adapter and forget about changing the batteries.
- Can be plugged in if you opt for the power adapter
- Possibility of connecting the feeder to the air pump to prevent moisture from accumulating
- Comes ready to use with 2 feeds per day
- Included mounting bracket and rubber feet offer more installation options
- Can be configured to dispense up to 12 shots per day
- Batteries not included
- You have to pay extra money for the power adapter
- Some aquarists complained that it does not dispense the same amount of food at each feed
Zacro CY-009 Automatic Fish Feeder
Installation is easy and can be done without any problems. The feeder rotates 360º on the base and can be used with granules, flakes, large grains…
The capacity of the container is 200 ml, so the device is not small. Therefore, it is recommended to install it in large aquariums.
This automatic fish feeder has a large LCD screen with buttons. You can always check the clock and power settings on the screen. In addition, it allows you to control the battery charge and recharge it via microUSB if necessary.
2 installation methods can be used, it can be mounted using the clip or with the 3M stickers. The clip can be fixed on a glass with a maximum thickness of 24 mm.
Allows you to select the daily number of meals: from one to four, and the number of rotations: from one to three. The manual button allows you to feed them manually whenever you want. In this case, it only rotates once.
The adjustable discharge slider allows you to adjust the amount of food with the help of the feeding slot.
The automatic feeder comes with a built-in lithium battery that can be charged by micro USB. A single charge can last 3-6 months, and the battery life is estimated at 800 cycles. But in addition, it also works with AA batteries.
- large food storage
- Very simple to program with multiple settings
- Micro USB charging that lasts up to 6 months
- Comes with 3M stickers
- Precise operation
- A little difficult to achieve desired setting with slider
- Cannot be installed on curved tanks
Petacc Automatic Fish Feeder
This automatic fish feeder can be used with both small and large fish, and due to its ability to dispense larger food, it can be used for larger pets such as turtles, frogs and newts.
They also feature a moisture-resistant hopper to keep food dry. Also, the feeder is very easy to use.
Very simple to install, it offers two ways to install it: a clamp to place it on the edge of the tank, and a self-adhesive velcro tape.
Then all you have to do is load the container with the fish food and configure the settings. It is versatile and adapts to all types of fish food.
Store enough food for several weeks thanks to its large 175/200 ml food capacity.
This feeder is 360 degree rotatable and therefore can feed in any direction.
You can set the feeder to feed up to four times a day, plus use the manual button to feed itself. The opening of the control regulates the amount of food for each schedule.
- Ample storage space for different varieties of food
- Adjustable opening to regulate portions
- Made with environmentally friendly materials
- Programmable to feed at any time of the day or night
- a bit bulky
What is an automatic fish feeder?
In its simplest form, a fish feeder consists of a container filled with food and a programmable timer.
Simply fill the container with dry food and set the timer for the desired frequency to feed the fish.
That’s really all there is to it. Now you have a little more independence, the automatic fish food dispenser will do the work for you.
It doesn’t matter if you have a freshwater or marine tank. An automatic fish feeder will work in all of them, regardless of the type of aquarium.
Depending on the brand of feeder and the type of food used, an electronic fish feeder can keep your pets fed for up to 6 weeks.
Please note that automatic fish food feeders are for dry food only.
At the time of this writing, there is no automatic feeder for frozen food available. If your pets eat frozen food, consider switching to freeze-dried food, like this one, which will work with an automatic fish feeder.
Is an automatic fish feeder really necessary?
If you can feed them by hand and it is something you enjoy, then you probably do not find the positive part of having an automatic fish feeder.
But there is no denying that this little device can be very useful. It is a fact that your aquatic friends need food. And in an aquarium, the fish do not have the means to feed themselves. They depend on you.
That is, if you forget, or you’re not around, then your friends don’t eat.
An automatic fish feeder is there when you’re not. It must also be said that it is often more reliable than having your friends and family feed your fish. This way you avoid the danger of being overfed.
So while a fish feeder is not an essential aquarium product, it can definitely come in handy.
What are the different types of automatic fish feeders?
Automatic rotating barrel fish feeder
This is the most common type of automatic fish feeder. Simply fill the barrel with your fish’s favorite food, then program when you want your fish to be fed. When the scheduled time arrives, the barrel rotates, dropping a small amount of fish food into the aquarium.
The amount of food that is dispensed is determined by the adjustable opening of the barrel.
The main attraction of a rotary barrel fish feeder is that it allows for a large amount of food to be stored. If you want to go away for a considerable period of time, this should be your first option.
Some brands offer up to 6 weeks of fish food.
The drawback of using a single compartment for food storage is that it makes it unsuitable for community tanks. You can’t mix pellets and flakes in the barrel and expect them to be evenly distributed when it’s time to feed.
Also, this type of automatic fish feeder is not suitable for large dry feed. Large flakes, seaweed wafers, and sticks can get stuck in the opening.
- commonly available
- contains a lot of food
- Multiple mounting options
- Not suitable for larger dry foods like wafers
- Not suitable for mixed feeding
- Less precise portions
- Community tanks may need multiple feeders
Automatic fish feeder with portion control
We can compare this fish feeder as a pill box of the grandmother. The amount of food required for the fish is placed in the trays and the timer is programmed. When it’s time to eat, the feeder releases the food ration placed on one of the trays.
The advantage here is that you can perfectly measure each serving of food for the fish. Although it may take more time, it also allows you to mix different types of fish food.
You can even put different foods in each tray, for example flakes in one and pellets in another. You can even leave empty trays to provide food every other day.
The downside is that it doesn’t hold as much food as the barrel type. This means that they do not usually provide more than 2 weeks of feeding with one feeding session per day. If it is fed two or three times a day, then it lasts much less.
Also, due to the way the tray system works, this automatic fish feeder is not suitable for small foods like betta pellets.
- Can dispense mixed foods
- Dispense precise amounts
- Suitable for large dry foods
- Food portions must be measured
- Store less food
- take up more space
- Not suitable for betta pellets
- more difficult to clean
Tips for your automatic fish feeder
Choose the location carefully
When it comes to fish feeders, location is everything. Too close to the filter inlet and any food dispensed will be sucked up. Too close to the filter outlet and any floating food will be scattered throughout the aquarium.
It is also advisable to avoid placing the automatic dispenser on an air stone, filter outlet, or anything else that will cause surface agitation. If you do, small droplets of water will splash into the feeder and cause the feed inside to cake and go stale.
It may take a bit of creativity to find the right location, especially if you have a small fish tank. You may have to reposition the lamp or cut a notch in the cap. But with a little intelligence, you’ll soon find the best location for your aquarium.
Secure the automatic fish feeder
If your feeder falls into the tank, it will no longer work… Accidental damage like this is not covered by the warranty.
An unsecured fish feeder can be easily knocked over when cleaning the aquarium. It goes without saying if you have small children or a cat.
If you are simply attaching the automatic fish feeder to the edge of your aquarium, use the clamps that come in the box. Make sure it’s securely fastened.
and place the fish food dispenser on top of the aquarium lid? Velcro is your best friend. One piece glued to the lid and one to the device will protect it from most bumps.
Take a quiz before you go on vacation
If you want to use an automatic fish feeder while you’re away, I recommend doing a trial first.
This gives you the opportunity to resolve any issues that may arise with the installation, such as moisture issues or the dispenser snagging on nearby equipment, etc.
Don’t forget this important step. You shouldn’t just trust the device. Surely you do not want to find when you return home that the automatic fish feeder did not work properly.
And how long should the automatic fish feeder be tested? the ideal would be as long as the time you want to be away.
During this time, check the following:
- The timer is adjusted with the fish feeding program.
- Dispenser opening is properly adjusted, not over or under.
- Moisture is not causing food to cake.
- Food doesn’t run out ahead of schedule.
Once you have verified that everything works correctly, you can go on vacation knowing that your fish will be fed correctly.
And don’t forget the batteries. It is advisable to put new batteries when you are going to be gone for a while, you do not want them to die while you are away.
Conclusions about the automatic fish feeder
There is no denying that an automatic fish feeder can be a reliable solution for feeding your fish when you are away from home.
Using this guide, you can easily find the best automatic fish feeder for your tank.
No matter what your fish’s diet is or how often it is fed, there is an automatic fish feeder for every need.