The Best Automatic Fish Feeders 2020: Reviews, Tips, Recommendations
Author Aubree Rose Reading 1 min Published by
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 2020: 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
11. Torlam Auto Fish Feeder, Moisture-Proof Electric Auto Fish Feeder,Aquarium Tank Timer Feeder Vacation &Weekend 2 Fish Food Dispenser
12. Penn-Plax Daily Double II Battery-Operated Automatic Fish Feeder
Five Facts about Fish Feeding and Feeders
How to Set up and Use an Automatic Fish Feeder
Frequently Asked Questions
Verdict and Recommendations
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:
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.
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.
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.
Regular feeding is crucial for aquarium fish, as they depend on you entirely. If you need to stay away for some days, you, of course, can ask your friend to care for your fish. However, there is a better solution – an automatic fish feeder. This is a small box with a dispenser, which is attached to a fish tank lid. The container is loaded with fish food, which is dispensed in small portions in preset time intervals. Thanks to it, you can stay away for several days without fear.
Irrespective of the aquarium type (marine, freshwater, or reef), an automatic fish feeder works equally well for all tanks. Depending on the model and the make, such equipment can hold up to six weeks’ portion of food. This means that you can leave your fish unattended for up to a month and a half and go to your vacation. During the whole time, you will be certain your little fish friends are fed properly. You set the amount of food to be released and the frequency of mealtimes. Once done, a feeder will strictly obey the settings.
|Eheim Automatic Feeding Unit|
|PROCHE Digital Automatic Fish Feede|
|NICREW Automatic Fish Feeder|
|Fish Mate F14 Aquarium Fish Feeder|
|ADA Automatic Fish Feeder|
|Automatic Fish Feeder by eBoTrade Dirct|
|Current USA 3860 Aquachef Automatic Fish Feeder|
|P7000 Pond Fish Feeder by Fish Mate|
|Flexzion Automatic Fish Food Feeder|
|AQQEF 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This automatic fish feeder is programmable allowing to schedule up to four feedings a day at any hour and deliver a single, double, or even triple feeding. Thanks to the moisture-resistant hopper, the food inside the 200ml capacity hopper stays dry. The feeder can be installed either on the tank wall with its holder or pasted on the tank cover with a double-sided sticker. Both installation methods are easy.
There are many features we liked about the automatic fish feeder by Torlam. Besides what we mentioned above, we found the 360° rotating pedestal of the feeder highly convenient in adding food to the hopper.
Nevertheless, we can’t but state that it’s difficult to manage the amount of food dispensed. You can’t use the feeder if your fish prefer flake food, either.
Designed to dispense pellets or flake food, this automatic fish feeder can be a real savior for fish keepers on vacation. It can be set to dispense food twice a day for up to a month. The equipment can freely stand by the side of the tank or clamp on to it depending on the position of the aquarium. To operate the automatic feeder, you need only one AAA battery.
This is a cheap model, so is its quality. Even though the drum has an impressive capacity to hold enough food not to worry about your fish as long as four weeks, it has a huge downside – the food in it gets wet by evaporation and the tool stops dispensing food. If you still opt for this model, consider filling the drum with little food and placing the tool as high above the water as possible.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.