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The Best Automatic Fish Feeders 2019: Reviews, Tips, Recommendations

Aquarium fish are wonderful creatures. Unlike cats and dogs, they don’t disturb us in any way; they don’t destroy our home, chew our clothes and furniture, or leave terrible stains on the carpets. They just wander around in the water, giving us tons of aesthetic enjoyment and pleasure. That said, thinking that fish don’t require any special treatment and supervision is a big mistake. When it comes to feeding, strict adherence to the schedule is crucial. With an automatic aquarium fish feeder, keeping the schedule is much easier.

Table of Contents:

What is an Automatic Fish Feeder and Who Needs It
The Best Automatic Fish Feeders: a Comparative Chart
Things to Consider When Choosing an Automatic Fish Feeder
How We Selected the Best Automatic Fish Feeder
The Best Automatic Fish Feeders 2019: Our Choice
1. Eheim Automatic Feeding Unit
2. PROCHE Digital Automatic Fish Feeder
3. NICREW Automatic Fish Feeder
4. Fish Mate F14 Aquarium Fish Feeder
5. ADA Automatic Fish Feeder
6. Automatic Fish Feeder by eBoTrade Dirct
7. Current USA 3860 AquaChef Automatic Fish Feeder
8. P7000 Pond Fish Feeder by Fish Mate
9. Flexzion Automatic Fish Food Feeder
10. AQQEF Automatic Fish Feeder, AF012
Five Facts about Fish Feeding and Feeders
How to Set up and Use an Automatic Fish Feeder
Frequently Asked Questions
Verdict and Recommendations

What is an Automatic Fish Feeder and Who Needs It

A fish feeder is a special piece of aquarium equipment, which dispenses small portions of food in the scheduled time intervals. It commonly comes in the form of a compact device, which is attached to the tank’s lid or wall and filled with food. Though an automatic fish tank feeder is not a must-have, it is a convenient appliance that makes the life of any fish owner much easier. It is indispensable in the following situations:

  • you often stay out all day long;
  • you have to go on business trips that can last more than one day;
  • you are a forgetful person, and there were episodes when you forgot to feed your fish;
  • you want to automatize the feeding process for any reason.

As you see, there are multiple reasons to buy a fish feeder. But it’s important to choose the right type of the feeder that suits your aquarium best. Basically, there are just two ways to automatize the feeding.

External Automatic Fish Feeders

When we speak about an automatic fish food feeder, we commonly mean a battery-powered dispenser, which is mounted outside the tank. These devices and versatile and highly customizable; most of them are compatible with various types of food (pellets, flakes, etc.) They suit for the majority of tanks. Some options, such as Penn Plax automatic fish feeder, offer various methods of mounting.

Dissolvable Tablets

In fact, these are not feeders in the real sense of the word. The tablets are placed right in the water; in certain time intervals, they are dissolved in the water and dispense the next portion of food. They are less convenient and versatile than external feeders, as you can choose neither the time intervals nor the type of food. Tablets are commonly used in the tanks, which are completely incompatible with outside feeders.

The Best Automatic Fish Feeders: a Comparative Chart

Brand

 

 

Type of food

Max feeds per day

Vent system

Adjustable portion size

Low Battery indicator

LCD display

Warranty

Eheim Automatic Feeding Unit

BUY NOW AMAZON Flakes, small pellets, granules 8 + + + + 3 years

PROCHE Digital Automatic Fish Feeder

BUY NOW AMAZON Pellets, flakes, powders, strips 4 +

+

1 year

NICREW Automatic Fish Feeder

BUY NOW AMAZON Pellets, flakes, crisps 5 + + + N/A

Fish Mate F14 Aquarium Fish Feeder

BUY NOW AMAZON All types of food

4

+ 3 years

ADA Automatic Fish Feeder

BUY NOW AMAZON Flakes, granules, small pellets 2 + 1 year

Automatic Fish Feeder by eBoTrade Dirct

BUY NOW AMAZON Pellets, flakes, powders, strips 4 +

+

+ + 18 months

Current USA 3860 Aquachef Automatic Fish Feeder

   BUY NOW AMAZON Flakes, pellets, crumbled food 8

+

+ 1 year

P7000 Pond Fish Feeder by Fish Mate

  BUY NOW AMAZON 

Pellets, stick food

3 + + + 3 years

Flexzion Automatic Fish Food Feeder

  BUY NOW AMAZON  Pellets, stick food 4 + + + 1 year

AQQEF Automatic Fish Feeder

  BUY NOW AMAZON  All types of food 5 + + 1 year

Things to Consider When Choosing an Automatic Fish Feeder

The assortment of fish feeders available is impressive. They come in a variety of forms, shapes, sizes, and colors. Needless to say, the set of features and customization possibilities also vary from one option to another greatly. To choose the best automatic fish feeder one needs to consider numerous parameters and characteristics.

Time and Quantity Control Timer

A built-in timer is a must for any auto feeder. Fish feel much better when they get their food in relatively small portions several times per day. Check how many portions per day the feeder can dispense and whether it is possible to adjust the time intervals and the portion size. Keep in mind that various fish species need different nutrition patterns, so the best approach is to study the feeder’s manual and make sure it meets the requirements of your aquarium habitats.

Battery Availability Option/ Energy Saving

All external automatic fish feeders are battery-powered. According to automatic fish feeder reviews, most of them have a very low consumption rate: they can last several months without battery replacing. The things you need to consider are the type of batteries and their number. An important feature is a low battery indicator: it will let you know when it’s time to recharge or replace the batteries in order to prevent a sudden cut-off.

Variety in Fish Food

Fish food can come in various forms – pellets, flakes, powders, or strips. Some feeders are compatible with all types of food while others can dispense only food of a particular form and size. Make sure the dispenser you’ve chosen is compatible with the food your fish are used to.

Feed Casting Distance

Depending on the aquarium/pond size you may choose a feeder with a shorter or longer casting distance. This parameter is commonly found in the spec list of a dispenser. As a general rule of thumbs, smaller feeders have a smaller casting distance and vice versa.

How We Selected the Best Automatic Fish Feeder

With oodles of feeders of all sorts available, it is not easy to choose the best one. We’ve conducted a comprehensive research in order to compile a list of high-quality reliable devices that meet the needs of most fish owners. To accomplish this task, we studied tons of the best automatic pond fish feeder reviews and compared their specifications thoroughly. After that, we tested the selected models in real-life conditions and picked out the ones that can boast smooth operation, ease of use, and good customization simultaneously.

The Best Automatic Fish Feeders 2019: Our Choice

Our top-list of aquarium/pond fish feeders includes 10 popular brands. In every automatic fish feeder review, we tell about its strong and weak points. Keep on reading to choose the option that meets your requirements in the best way.

Eheim Automatic Feeding Unit

Eheim Automatic Feeding Unit

Review

This Eheim automatic fish feeder is a compact and versatile device that fits most aquariums. It is compatible with pellets, granules, and flakes. A 3.3-Oz container is large enough to keep the amount of food sufficient for up to 6 weeks of regular feeding. It allows adjusting the portion size and the frequency of feeding (up to 8 times per day.) A built-in vent system guarantees that the food will stay dry, and the buttons are splash-protected. The device features a readable LCD display with a digital clock and a two-stage low battery indicator.

What we think

We love the flexibility and a good compatibility of the unit. You can use it for both marine and freshwater tanks, for feeding fish, turtles, frogs, and newts. That said, we warn you against using large pellets and very fine powder in it. Pellets will get stuck in the dispenser hole while powder can simply be blown away with the fan. A great solution is a manual release button, which allows releasing additional food portions at any time between the pre-programmed sessions.

PROS

  • versatile and compact;
  • an adjustable portion size;
  • up to 8 foods per day + manual release;
  • a low battery indicator;
  • fits most aquariums;
  • a built-in vent system.

CONS

  • doesn’t work well with large pellets and fine powder;
PROCHE Digital Automatic Fish Feeder Fish

PROCHE Digital Automatic Fish Feeder

Review

This automatic fish feeder for aquariums offers enough flexibility in terms of both mounting and feeding modes. It can be attached to the tank’s rim with a removable holder or secured on the lid with a double Velcro. The unit is compatible with all forms of food, including pellets, powders, strips, and flakes. It allows to adjust the frequency of feeding – up to 4 times per day – and the portion size. Thanks to a large LCD display, the device is easy to set up and control.

What we think

The feeder is well-built, easy to mount and set up. Thanks to the transparent container, you always see how much food is left. In our opinion, it has only two downsides: no dedicated vent system and no visible low battery indicator.

PROS

  • excellent quality for the price;
  • two installation methods;
  • adjustable portion size;
  • up to 4 feedings per day;
  • compatible with all types of food.

CONS

  • no built-in fan;
  • no low battery indicator.
NICREW Automatic Fish Feeder

NICREW Automatic Fish Feeder

Review

This is an easy-to-use automatic fish feeder for aquarium that features a large non-transparent container, which can hold up to 150 ml of food. The unit allows to adjust the number of foods per day (1 to 5) and the size of one portion. It comes with a proprietary ventilation system that helps to keep the food dry all the time. The manual release option adds flexibility.

What we think

Besides being really affordable, this feeder has some important advantages. It is protected from occasional splashes by a moisture-resistant case, and its internal fan helps to preserve dry food in the proper condition. The display is large and readable. That said, it has no battery indicator, and its overall build quality is average.

PROS

  • versatile and flexible;
  • a large container;
  • compatible with different types of food;
  • a vent system;
  • easy to mount and use.

CONS

  • no battery indicator;
  • the body is a sort of flimsy;
  • made in China.
Fish Mate F14 Aquarium Fish Feeder

Fish Mate F14 Aquarium Fish Feeder

Review

Fish Mate is an original automatic fish food feeder for aquarium with a unique design. It has no LCD display; instead, there is a round plate with 14 individual compartments and a transparent lid. One compartment contains a daily portion, which, in turn, can be split into 2, 3 or 4 feedings. Thus, one full feeder provides automatic feeding for up to two weeks. The unit is compatible with all types of food; you can even fill different compartments with different foods. A quartz timer provides high accuracy of time intervals setting.

What we think

The device has an original smart design and does its job great when it is set properly. That said, it is not completely flawless. Thus, it lacks a vent system, which can cause moisture accumulation. This is a problem, especially if you use flakes. The solution offered by the manufacturer is to connect the unit to an air pump and use the air stream for ventilation, though, in our opinion, it is a sort of awkward.

PROS

  • up to 14 individual daily meals;
  • 1 through 4 portions per day;
  • compatible with various food types;
  • a low battery indicator;
  • a quartz timer.

CONS

  • no vent system;
  • no LCD display.
ADA Automatic Fish Feeder

ADA Automatic Fish Feeder

Review

ADA is a simple and reliable automatic fish feeder for small tanks and medium-sized aquariums. It offers both manual and Auto feeding modes with a possibility to adjust a portion size. The maximum number of portions per day is 2, with an interval of 12 hours. The unit is compatible with flakes and small granules but not with large pellets, which can get stuck in a narrow opening. A removable stand adds versatility: the device can be mounted on the tank’s rim or on the lid. It comes with a 12-months warranty.

What we think

All things considered, this is an entry-level option, so you get what you pay for. It lacks a digital display and a ventilation system, while two meals per day are obviously not the best approach. It is recommended to split the daily amount of food into several small portions throughout the day. And still, it is a useable option that does its job honestly and can serve an extra or emergency feeding tool.

PROS

  • manual and Auto feeding modes;
  • adjustable portion size;
  • a removable stand;
  • a large transparent container;
  • easy to set up and use.

CONS

  • no LCD display;
  • no vent system;
  • only 2 feedings per day.
Automatic Fish Feeder by eBoTrade Dirct

Automatic Fish Feeder by eBoTrade Dirct

Review

This small automatic fish feeder is versatile and convenient. No matter how long you stay out, it will provide your aquarium habitats with the needed amount of food up to 4 times per day. Additionally, there is a manual release button, which can be used to add food at any moment. The device works with all types of fish food, including flakes, granules, pellets, and powders. The container is moisture-resistant, which helps to keep the food dry.

What we think

When set up properly, this unit performs smoothly and consistently. But you need to spend time and efforts to adjust it, and the manual supplied doesn’t give detailed information about adjusting the portion size or programming the frequency of feeding. We recommend looking for some video instructions on the Internet and set up the device correctly before the first use.

PROS

  • works with various types of food;
  • smooth performance;
  • up to 4 meals per day;
  • adjustable portion size;
  • a manual feeding mode available.

CONS

  • no built-in fan;
  • the manual could be better.
Current USA 3860 Aquachef Automatic Fish Feeder

Current USA 3860 AquaChef Automatic Fish Feeder

Review

This unit from AquaChef is commonly described in automatic pond fish feeder reviews as the best price/features/quality ratio. While being one of the most affordable options around, it offers a decent set of features, letting you fully automatize the feeding process. The maximum number of feedings per day is 4 but there is an option of a double feeding, which increases the number of meals to 8. The device features a large LCD display and responsive buttons. It is compatible with various forms of food: flakes, pellets, and crumble food.

What we think

What we love about this unit is the possibility of setting any feeding time manually. On the minus side, this process is a sort of complicated, with too many pushes of buttons required. A double feeding option is nice to have but we’d prefer to have a possibility of programming 8 separate meals.

PROS

  • affordable and rich in features;
  • handles various types of food;
  • easy to assemble and mount;
  • fully programmable;
  • well-built and reliable.

CONS

  • no ventilation system;
  • the process of adjusting is complicated.
P7000 Pond Fish Feeder by Fish Mate

P7000 Pond Fish Feeder by Fish Mate

Review

If you are looking for the best automatic pond fish feeder, the P7000 feeder is the number option to consider. This is a well-built robust unit for very large aquariums and outdoor ponds. A heavy-duty semi-transparent container holds up to 30 cups of pellets or dry “sticks”, which are realized in the preset amounts up to 3 times per day. The minimal size of one portion is 3 teaspoonful. The device is fully programmable, with a clear LCD screen and a digital timer.

What we think

This is a brilliant outdoor feeder but you can further improve it by adding some small extra details. Though it is weather-resistant, we recommend using a special cover for it to protect from direct sunshine, thunderstorms, and heavy rains. Also, you can use a steady base for it to place the device some higher.

PROS

  • a simple and reliable construction;
  • weather-resistant;
  • a large heavy-duty container;
  • dishwasher safe;
  • great for outdoor use.

CONS

  • expensive but it is worthy of it.
Flexzion Automatic Fish Food Feeder

Flexzion Automatic Fish Food Feeder

Review

This is another great automatic fish feeder for pond habitats. If you have a garden koi pond, you may want to automatize the feeding process with this modern programmable unit. It is very easy to use: just pour pellets of “sticks” into its large 4.25-liter container, choose the frequency of feeding (1-4 per day), the size of one portion, and let it do its job. The unit has a large LCD display and big responsive buttons for hassle-free setting up.

 What we think

While this feeder is almost twice as cheap as P7000 by Fish Mate, it offers an identical set of features. That being said, it lacks its rival’s premium touch: the build quality is average, and the case is not waterproof. If you are going to use it outdoors, you’ll need to construct a reliable covering for it.

PROS

  • a large container;
  • fully programmable;
  • up to 4 meals per day;
  • adjustable portion size;
  • a low-battery indicator.

CONS

  • not waterproof;
  • there are complaints about inconsistent feeding.
AQQEF Automatic Fish Feeder, AF012

AQQEF Automatic Fish Feeder, AF012

Review

If you are looking for the best automatic fish feeder for pellets, flakes, and powders, consider this all-in-one option from AQQEF. This is a versatile fully programmable device, which provides a lot of flexibility in planning an individual nutrition schedule. With up to 5 meals per day with the option of setting up to 3 cycles for each feeding session, your fish won’t stay hungry. In addition, the manual release mode is available, so you can add food between the sessions. The device features an LCD screen where all the current information is displayed.

What we think

We love the versatility and ease of use of this feeder. It works pretty well with all types of food, including fine powders for fish babies. The unit is easy to mount and adjust, and the build quality is decent. The only complaint is the lack of a ventilation system, which means that dry food can absorb moisture and bloat.

PROS

  • up to 15 meals per day (5 feeding sessions/3 cycles);
  • fully programmable;
  • all types of food;
  • a manual feeding mode;
  • a large 150 ml container.

CONS

  • no ventilation system.

Five Facts about Fish Feeding and Feeders

  1. Underfeeding is less hazardous to aquarium fish than overfeeding. Overeating can cause stress, diseases, and even death.
  2. There are no automatic frozen fish food feeder options on sale. Feeders are for dry food only while fresh, live, and frozen food is given manually.
  3. Healthy adult fish can live without food up to 2-3 weeks.
  4. A “fastening day” once in 10-14 days will have a positive effect on the fish health.
  5. A “normal” portion is the amount of food that fish can eat in 5-10 minutes – all the remaining food is excessive.

How to Set up and Use an Automatic Fish Feeder

It’s important to understand how to make automatic fish feeder units work smoothly and correctly. Most of them are quite easy to install and set up. Here are some basic tips that will help you make the most of your newly purchased feeding unit.

How to Install

Right after unboxing, read the user manual to make sure you understand how to assemble and mount it. The procedure is commonly pretty straightforward: you need to attach a food container (a drum) to a drive control unit and screw up a removable holder (if supplied). After that, mount the unit on the tank’s lid or rim as recommended. Depending on the type of the device, it can be fastened on a double Velcro or secured on the rim with the help of a clamp.

How to Adjust

Adjusting is the most responsible stage of the feeder setup. You need to think over the feeding schedule and pre-programme it, using available modes. Most feeders allow 1 through 4 feedings per day. When it comes to the portion size, it is adjusted by regulating the dispensing entryway. Determine the optimal dose, using the manual release button available in the automatic fish feeder Eheim and similar models. Keep in mind that some units, such as Penn Plax Daily Double automatic fish feeder, lack the manual mode, which makes adjusting more troublesome.

How to Maintain

Normally, automatic aquarium fish feeders require little maintenance. Most manufacturers provide a warranty from 1 to 3 years on their products, but you can increase the lifespan of the device by treating it properly. Beware that the dispensing entryway tends to get clogged with food from time to time. If it happens, it’s crucial to remove the clogging timely. All the removable parts of the feeder are washed in warm soapy water to prevent bacteria growth; most units are dishwasher safe. Last but not least is battery replacing. Many feeders, such as Top Fin automatic fish feeder, have a low battery indicator. Mind that if the battery runs out when you are away, your fish will stay hungry.

Frequently Asked Questions

When you buy a new appliance that you’ve never used before, multiple questions inevitably arise. Many buyers have similar questions about the functioning of the device, its installation and adjusting, the risks associated with its utilization and so on. Here are some popular questions about automatic aquarium fish feeders.

Q: What is the Smallest Amount of Food You Can Dispense?

A: It primarily depends on the type of food and the type of feeder. Massive pond feeders dispense large portions: a teaspoonful is often the smallest possible dose. Small aquarium feeders, in turn, can release tiny portions, starting from 2-3 pellets at a time. Keep in mind that the finer the granules are, the smaller the dispensing entryway should be.

Q: Will Any Fish Food Work with an Automatic Fish Feeder?

A: No, not actually. All the commercial auto feeders work with dry food only. Moreover, few of them are compatible with all sorts of dry food. Thus, Eheim automatic fish feeder instructions say that this unit can handle small pellets, flakes, and granules. Pond fish food dispensers can work with larger pellets and sticks. Some devices are compatible with crumble granules and powders, which are necessary for baby fish.

Q: Why are Some Fish Tanks Incompatible?

A: The most common reason why you can’t use an auto feeder in your aquarium is an impossibility to secure the device on the tank’s lid or rim. It may turn out too heavy or large for the aquarium or its clamp may be incompatible with the tank’s wall. But even if you found the unit that perfectly fits your water tank, make sure it can dispense the proper food and that you can adjust the portion size.

Q: Will Feed Tablets Harm the Water?

A: Dissolvable tabs can really make water cloudy, but commonly this is not a problem if you have a strong filter and a good protein skimmer. If there is no proper filtration system, the quality of water can suffer.

Q: Is There a Limit to the Amount of Fish That a Feeder Feeds?

A: Yes, there is. Smaller units can cover the needs of smaller aquariums with a smaller number of habitats and vice versa. This information is not always available in the specs list of the feeder, so you’d better visit the official site of the manufacturer or ask the community about the limits. If the feeder s too small, your fish will stay hungry, and a too large and powerful unit can cause overfeeding.

Verdict and Recommendations

No matter whether you are buying an automatic tropical fish feeder or a unit for a cold-water tank, you always want the device to be reliable, inexpensive, and easy to use. We’ve reviewed ten popular aquarium feeder options, which are frequently chosen by fish owners. All of them have their strengths and weaknesses. At the same time, all of them are effective and versatile enough to meet the needs of most aquarists.
Our top pick is Eheim automatic feeding unit – a compact and reliable device that has a lot to be loved for. It allows up to 8 feedings per day, which is important if you have to care about baby fish. The device features a built-in ventilation system, which means the quality of dry food won’t suffer. Eheim automatic fish feeder instructions are clear and straightforward.
An automatic aquarium feeder is a handy device that will make the life of any fish owner much easier. We hope our recommendations will help you to make the right choice.

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