Fish Feeder Roundup
If you have ever gone away for a long weekend or vacation while owning your fish tank, there is no doubt that you have had to consider how to feed your fish while you are gone. Or perhaps, you just have a busy schedule or fish that need to eat multiple times during the day. In any of these situations, an automatic fish feeder is going to be the route to go. You don’t have to worry about it getting done and you can be sure that the right amount is being added to the tank. No worries that your tank sitter is going to pour in a tin of fish food every day.
There is only a handful of options out there for automatic fish feeders but they can differ dramatically in their features. Each one of these feeders may be the best option for an individual situation. The idea of this post is to highlight the major points of interest for each of our feeders so you can choose the best one for you:
Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder (pictured above):
The Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder is one of the more programmable feeders. It features an LCD clock display and the ability to program four different feeding times. Once the time is set, each individual feeding time is set. After the feeding time has been programmed you can select whether you want the feeding drum to rotate once or twice during that cycle.
From a mechanical standpoint the feeding drum has a sliding door on it. Sliding the door more closed reduces the amount of food that comes out on each rotation and vice versa. It is possible to adjust this feeder to feed both small amounts and large amounts of food which should make it suitable for large and small tanks alike.
Overall this is a very easy to adjust and easy to program feeder that lets you program up to eight drum rotations per day at up to four programmed times. The feeder also offers a manual feed button that will rotate the drum once when it is pressed.
Compatible Food Types:
The Everyday Fish Feeder has a single food chamber and is designed to work with both pellet and flake food. Flake food can be a little bit more complicated to work with when it comes to automatic fish food feeders but the Everyday Fish Feeder includes a ventilation fan that helps prevent moisture from accumulating. This is great for any fish food but especially helps to keep flake food from clumping. Using small flakes also helps when using flake fish food.
The Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder is able to be mounted on a flat horizontal surface via its small legs as well as on the rim of the tank by its included mounting bracket.
Power is supplied to the feeder by AA batteries.
This feeder is quiet as far as fish feeders go. You can hear a small whine as the motor turns the food barrel over but it isn’t something that should bother most people and it doesn’t last more than a minute even if you have the feeder set to rotate twice.
The Everyday Fish Feeder from Eheim is a quiet and simple to program fish feeder that works with both pellet and flake fish food. These qualities along with its low price are likely why it is our most popular fish feeder by far.
Eheim Twin Auto Fish Feeder:
The Twin Fish Feeder has a simple LCD screen that allows you to program the number of revolutions of each food bay. Each food bay can be programmed to run on three different occasions throughout the day. At each programmed feeding time the feeder can be programmed to turn up to nine revolutions. This means that each bay can be programmed for up to a total of 27 revolutions.
This particular feeder moves the food via a pair of augers that rotate and pull the food up from the hopper. Because of this design, it does not have a means to control the amount of food that comes out at each revolution and each revolution does release a fairly substantial amount of food (about a tablespoon per revolution). I would recommend this feeder for large tanks, in the 200 gallon and larger range.
Compatible Food Types:
The feeder will work with both pellet and flake food. This fish feeder has two food storage compartments, each with their own independently programmed augers. This allows you to feed two different types of food each with their own custom timing.
The Twin Fish Feeder mounts on a flat horizontal surface resting on its four legs (more like rubber pads) and secured by a piece of hook and loop fastener.
The Eheim Twin Auto Fish Feeder is powered via 4x AA batteries.
Like its little brother the Everyday Fish Feeder, the Twin Auto Fish Feeder is quiet as far as fish feeders go and shouldn’t bother anyone.
If you have a big tank and you want to feed two different types of food, the Twin Auto Feeder is going to be right for you. It offers the ability to feed the most food every day but its major limitation is that it cannot feed small amounts of food. If you have a small tank it will not be a very good choice because it will over feed your tank. The Twin Feeder is best reserved for tanks over 200 gallons (or smaller if they require a lot of food).
Hydor Ekomixo Fish Feeder:
The Ekomixo is super simple in its programming. It has three options, feed once, twice, or three times. That is it. No programming of the number of revolutions and limited programming to the time of day. The Ekomixo doesn’t even have a clock on it. If you set the feeder to one feeding it will turn the drum at that time and it will repeat that every day at the same time. So if you activate it at 9 am, it will feed every day at 9 am. If set to two feedings the first will be at the time you activate it and the second will be eight hours later. So in the same scenario of starting at 9 am, the second feeding would then happen every day at 5 pm. If you choose three feedings, the second feeding will be six hours after the first, and the third will be six hours after the second. Going with the same scenario, this means the first feeding will be at 9 am, the second feeding at 3 pm, and the third feeding at 9 pm. In terms of functionality, super easy – just not a lot of customization possible. You also have to remember to start the feeder at the desired time when you first set it up. The feeder has an adjustable sliding door like the Eheim Every Day Fish Feeder that you slide open and closed to adjust the amount of food that is fed.
Compatible Food Types:
The Ekomixo Feeder holds a single type of food and works best for pellets in my experience, though small flake food can be made to work. The system does have an air inlet that you can connect an air pump too for ventilation which will only help.
The Ekomixo mounts to a flat horizontal surface just like the Eheim twin feeder. Simple and nothing fancy!
The Ekomixo runs on AA Batteries. When the battery power has less than one week’s worth of run time left, the three lights on the front of the feeder will begin to flash, indicating it’s time to replace the batteries.
In my experience the Ekomixo is the loudest of the automatic fish feeders. It isn’t so loud that I find it unbearable but it is louder than the rest. Fortunately it only lasts for a minute at a time but if your tank is in your living room you may want to set it up to feed at a time you’re not usually there.
If you are looking for an inexpensive and super simple to program fish feeder then the Hydor Ekomixo is for you. It lacks the customization of the other feeders but you can program it with literally the push of a single button. It is a bit on the loud side though so it is best to program it to run when it won’t disturb you.
Apex AFS – Automatic Feeding System:
Price: $99 (Plus it requires an Apex System)
The AFS is by far the most versatile of the feeders because it can be connected to your Apex aquarium controller. Not only does this give you the flexibility to program this feeder to run at the time of your choosing but it also allows you to program the rest of your Apex controller to take action based on the feeding. For example, because the feeder is controlled by the Apex you could have the system shut down your return pumps and skimmers, activate the feeder, and then turn the equipment back on 15 minutes later. This would keep your food from going down the overflow. The feeder has an adjustable slider for changing the amount of food added to the tank.
Compatible Food Types:
Best used with pellet food. Neptune has also released their own pellet food called Crossover Diet to go with the feeder (though any pellet will work). Crossover is specially designed for reef tanks and is a pellet fish food with a thin coating of coral food on the outside. The coral food disperses when the pellets hit the water.
The AFS is mounted directly to the rim of the tank via the included mounting bracket. The mounting bracket includes a quick disconnect that allows you to pull the feeder off the bracket without removing the bracket from the tank.
Power is supplied via the Aquabus cable from the Apex system. No further power supply is necessary.
The AFS isn’t as quiet as the Eheim feeders but it isn’t as loud as the Hydor. I would call it right in the middle. It is noticeable, but it shouldn’t bother most people as it only runs for a short period of time. Because you can program it to run at virtually any time, and it only runs for a short period of time, it should be very easy to program it to run when it isn’t going to be an issue.
If you have an Apex controller then it is likely a no brainer to go with the AFS system. It offers the most programming options by far and because of its integration with the Apex it opens so many more opportunities for programming with other equipment (like pumps, skimmers, etc) that it’s hard to ignore those options. If you are convinced you won’t use those extra features than you could save a few dollars with one of the other feeders.
Do you have an automatic fish feeder yourself? Share your experiences with the community by posting in the comments area below!