Aquarium - Fish Feeding


Active Member
Anyone using anything to feed their fish automatically? I recently added a controlled outlet to turn on the hood light on and off, now I am looking for something to feed the fish. I have seen automatic fish feeders, however none appear to be controllable other than an old-time timer. I would like something that can be controlled to drop the fish flakes when the light is turned on.

Any suggestions?
I bought a pond fish feeder on auction at smarthome. Haven't unboxed it yet as I am still not positive I will put fish in one of my ponds due to the added maintenance required. Got too much now...
Hopefully you find something. I bought a automatic feeder from pets mart and its worthless. I just put a Zwave module on the light and would like to get a working feeder.

I'm sure someone could hack a bettery operated one. And add it to the How-To ;)
well, this thread prompted me to open the box on the feeder to see how it works. Unfortunately a red gear dropped out of the unit. Guess that's why it was on auction. I was able to take it apart and put the gear back on. Put a battery in it to see if it goes through a full cycle.

This one, though battery operated, doesn't lend itself to controlled automation. The feed is in a round drum which a small AA powered timer motor turns the drum. When the drum opening points down, the feed is dropped. The drum continues to rotate through a 24 hr period. As the motor is geared so slow, can't think of an easy answer how to make it more responsive to a Feed command.
The one I use as soon as power is applied the feeder rotates a cycle. Just turn the power on for a minute then cycle it off. Maybe with a powerflash?
BrianD said:
The one I use as soon as power is applied the feeder rotates a cycle.
Where did you find that one, Brian?

BTW, yesterday there were many more posts to this topic, including one from jrfuda... What happened?

At Petsmart but as stated above I wouldn't recommend it. Just got it recently it's reliable just haven't gotten it to drop food correctly. It maybe just me :huh:

I thought *maybe* they all operated this way. Meaning when power is applied it cycles.

I like the style on smarthome website, it should work better.
My strongest recommendation about automating aquarium control is to not use X10 for it. I'm getting to the point that I actually trust UPB for this now.

My reason for being cautious is probably stronger than many... I built an automated water changer and use computer control to run it. However.. it fills the tanks slightly faster than the siphon overflow drains it. If I leave it on for more than a few hours, I get floods. This is bad.

One concern though.. I have both windows and unix machines doing HA control. I discovered that when my SA UPB computer controller is plugged into a PCI serial com port, windows "helpfully" detects the controller as a Ballpoint serial mouse.. This is bad. And it would have to happen while I was away for a week when my !@^#%$!# machine rebooted itself for a security update. Fortunately, it doesn't misdetect the powerlinc as anything, so I swapped the serial ports around and reconfigured HCA6.

Hint #2: if you use windows XP for this stuff, make sure you turn on autologin. (Start, run, "control userpassword2" and uncheck 'users need a username/password to use this computer'. You then enter the user/password for windows to use as an automatic login)

Hint #3: don't use windows XP for this stuff. ;)
Ahhh! I didn;'t even know my post got nuked.

I have X10 appliance modules automating the lights andair on 2 aquariums. Both lights are plugged-into one module, and one large air pump is plugged into another. The pump provides air for both tanks. The two hoses from the air pump go through a control valve before being connected to the powerheads of my undergravel filters. I found it neccessary to use the valves becuase the powerheads did not provide enoigh back pressure to allow the air pump to run quietly. Using the valves also allows me to adjust the air so that the powerheads emitt a fine mist of bubbles.

I have the lights and the air come on 40 minutes before sunrise and go off 20 minutes before sunset. I also have the ability, of course, to manually control them in case I want them on or off for another reason (off for tank maintenance or movie watching).

Anyway, as far as feeding goes....'

I have electronic feeders on each tank, They were $10 each at Wal-Mart. One of the first pair was faulty and was exchanged for another. Beyond that, they work very well. The only thing is that you have to ensure that flake food is relatively small (I'd say at least half the diameter of the feeder opening) to ensure it runs unclogged. The technique I use is to put 2 parts flake and 1 part pellet food in each feeder, then shake the feeder. The pelleted food crushes the flake food into proper sized flakes, and also provides mass that helps the food mix pass through the feeder efficiently. It's also important to keep the feeders away from aquarium air sources, because they'll intoduce tiny bits of water into the feeder and cause it to clog.

Currently the feeders work off of 1.5v batteries (1 each). I eventually plan to adapt them to share a wallwart, that I may have to use a resistor on or something to get the power just right.

I'd also like to modify them to make them more accessable. Currentyl the clamp on the back of the tank and hang over the back opening. The drum that contains the food canbe removed, as can be the motor/battery case, leaving only the clamp attached tothe tank. Unfortunately, my tanks are so close to the wall, that I cannot remove the motor housing without also removing the clamp (undergravel tanks let you put the tanks right up against a wall). The feeders can also be used without the clamp, as the motor housing can rest on the back side of a tank with the drum hanging over an opening, but then the cat can knock it into the tank....