Feeding your fish is so important that missing just one feeding time can affect your fish’s entire survival. We all know it's challenging to keep up with your fish’s feeding schedule, given your own busy life.
On-time feeding is not just about making sure your fish are nourished, too. It’s also about ensuring you don’t overfeed them and that you don’t waste any food.
Many fish owners overfeed their aquatic pets so they’d only have to do the feeding once for the whole day. This causes water contamination and wastage of fish food, which we don’t want you to experience.
We have discovered that aside from keeping a feeding schedule, you can also use an automatic fish feeder. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about it and our top five best picks you can consider.
First of all... What Is an Automatic Fish Feeder?
An aquarium fish feeder is an electronic device made to feed tank fish at set intervals. It dispenses the right amount of food into the aquarium at these scheduled periods, so if you’re a busy or on-vacation aquarist; you can still keep your pets’ feeding schedule.
We bet you think this is a fixed solution for fish feeding, but we don’t advise you to quit manual feeding. You can’t use it as a daily feeding method because its dispensed food is calculated only for short periods.
I understand how tempting it is to rely on the automatic tank feeder, but you still need to observe if your fish are eating in the first place. The best ones out there can only do so much in terms of food distribution, but they doesn’t ensure your fish are taking them.
What matters most is that your fish receives proper nutrition. Luckily, auto fish feeders support all kinds of fish food—flakes, pellets, or freeze-dried foods.
How Does an Auto Fish Feeder Work?
Each feeder has a different number of chambers in which you can store the fish food. You’re probably wondering why it has multiple chambers if the machine releases a certain amount of food at a time.
Well, this is where it gets interesting. These chambers rotate on a clock mechanism, so it dispenses food into the aquarium according to the set schedule.
Now, that’s also why you can’t rely on the device for daily feeding. With the limited number of chambers, you must still get your hands on it after two days to ensure they remain filled with food.
Well, it seems like it works after all as a daily feeding method. Just make sure you still attend to your fish personally as they also need their owner’s attention once in a while.
Why Should You Use One?
Like mentioned above, the purpose of an automatic fish feeder is to keep your fish nourished while you’re away. Most aquarists still ask people they know to do the feeding for their fish while they’re not home, and it is what these devices aim to fix.
Asking a friend, relative, or neighbor for this favor is not always the best course of action. If you can hardly keep up with your fish feeding schedule, what makes you so sure other people will?
We are not here to judge the characters of people in your life but to ensure your loved ones (your beloved aquatic pets of course) still get the correct amount of nutrition at the right time. Also, you may have last-minute trips which will make asking someone to do the feeding difficult.
In that case, you won’t have to worry if you have an automatic fish food dispenser you can fill with food before leaving.
How Do You Install An Aquarium Tank Food Dispenser?
First thing first, you need to understand how it will look like in the aquarium. Auto fish feeders clamp onto the wall of the aquarium above the water.
There are also other auto fish feeders designs:
- With mounting brackets so they can hang on the tank’s edge
- With suction cups that stick to the inner walls of the aquarium.
No matter what the design, installing an automatic fish feeder doesn’t require any work.
What Are the Pros and Cons?
I’m pretty sure we have already established how helpful this revolutionary product is. Now, we’re digging deeper into these devices so you can figure out which to look for or avoid in selecting the best automatic fish feeders for you.
- You can relax knowing your fish are eating properly when you’re away or busy.
- It can feed amphibians living in glass cages.
- The precise feedings maintain the fish’s health.
- It prevents overeating.
- Some low-cost models let moisture into the feeder, which turns the food into clumps.
- Once the fish get used to the automatic fish feeder timed feeding, feeding frenzy arises, which can cause splashing that leads to wetting the rest of the food.
- Auto fish feeders can’t adjust to the changing needs of the fish long-term so it can still cause overfeeding or underfeeding.
How to Choose the Right One For Your Planted Tank
The advantages and disadvantages of an automatic fish feeder might have already given you some insights. But you know us; we love to keep you well-equipped with everything you need to know in choosing the right product for you.
Here are a few crucial factors to keep in mind when you're about to purchase one:
1. Food chamber size
The capacity of your feeder is essential, especially if you have a lot of stock of fish food. Also, it depends on how long you will be running the automatic fish feeder.
We also know how it’s hard to resist buying more fish along the line of being an aquarist. If you feel you tend to do so, the best automatic fish feeder for you is the one with a large chamber.
2. Battery Life
Like we’ve mentioned here a few times already, using an auto fish feeder is addictive. Sure, we didn’t say that, but you’ll notice how we alluded to that by advertising their efficiency.
So let’s say you become obsessed with auto fish feeders—you’ll need a feeder with long battery life. Some need battery replacements or just recharging. Either way, you want to make sure the type of automatic fish feeder you choose has a long-lasting battery life so it won’t fail to feed your fish on schedule.
3. Ease of use
Not all auto fish feeders live up to their automatic reputation. Some of them have complicated setup processes that can drive you crazy.
When you’re leaving town, and in a hurry to set up your automatic fish feeder, that certainly wouldn’t help at all. Choose an auto fish feeder that has a digital display so programming it is more comfortable.
4. Feeding Frequency
You have to take into significant consideration how often your fish eat. Some auto fish food dispensers can only dispense food twice a day while others can do as much as eight times.
We suggest that you review the proper feeding frequency for your type of fish before deciding which is the best automatic fish feeder for you or whether you need one in the first place.
Top 5 Best Auto Fish Feeders
The first one in our list today is one of the best-reviewed products in the market. If you are looking for the easiest-to-use automatic fish feeder, we suggest you check this out.
The product comes as a full package with the following materials:
Yes, this auto fish feeder is an intelligent Wi-Fi device. It supports Wi-Fi remote control and voice command in different languages.
So if you’re busy, you can keep the device running while you’re in your home office working on the important stuff. This is all possible with the help of the Future Pet application, which we’re sure you’ll love as much as we do here.
You can manage the feeding schedule and food quantity on the app itself. The app has flexible timer functions which are not standard for most brands in the market.
Hook & Loop
Another thing we love the most about this product is its fun installation materials and process. You can attach the feeder easily onto the lid of the tank using the double-sided hook & loop (fixing clip and Velcro) provided in this package.
Unlike most auto fish feeder, this brand certainly has a seamless attachment design. The hook & loop concept can preserve the unparalleled view of your tank, in case you’re like us here who want our aquariums sleek and just all about that view.
The bracket is where you attach the feeder first before using the hook & loop to integrate it onto the tank. The bracket also has a design that doesn’t make the device look like an annoying small machine.
It provides substantial assistance to the feeder so when it’s attached to the aquarium using the hoop & loop, it can stay there for a long time.
The device is not battery-operated, and it is such a significant relief. You don’t want a device potentially running out of literal batteries which you have to run to the store for, right?
Another good thing about this device is that since it is rechargeable, it won’t stop feeding your fish on time even during power interruptions.
If you want to know more about the fantastic features of this product, you can browse the manual that comes with the package. You’ll also find on there that the brand ensures you can have your money back or receive a replacement should you feel unsatisfied with the product within the first year.
If you want a feeder that doesn’t look like a feeding device at all, this automatic fish feeder is the solution. This is the best automatic fish food dispenser for us because it checks off all the things in our checklist on determining the best automatic fish feeder for you.
Here are its amazing features:
Multiple choices of chamber count
This product comes in different types based on several chambers. There is a single feeder, double, five, and ten. They also have a premium pack which can cater to your substantial duty auto fish feeding needs.
Like we’ve mentioned, you have to consider how many fish you have and how often they eat. This brand can help you with that.
When we said the device doesn’t look like a feeder at all, we were serious. The device looks like an old school mobile phone, which you can integrate into your tank with almost zero steps at all.
You just put it there to hang and dispense food on time.
We said in the cons section that scheduled feeding could get the fish used to the habit, which leads to a feeding frenzy. The splashing from that chaos can wet the food or break the feeder itself.
However, this product has splash-proof buttons so that you wouldn’t have to worry about this anymore.
Good ventilation system
Proper ventilation is vital in a feeder. Like we’ve said in the previous sections, the food can turn into clumps if the automatic fish feeder lets air in which is common in many low-cost devices.
You might be wondering why this product places second in our list despite its all-in-one nature. Well, it still fails in one thing—it is battery-operated.
We know we broke your heart there but like they always say, nothing is perfect.
To mend your heart a little from that previous product, let us tell you all about the TOPBRY automatic fish feeder. This fish feeder also has features that ensure you will be making the right choice of making this your best automatic fish feeder.
Before we reveal why it only places third in this list, here are its winning qualities:
Like we said, this product aims to solve the issue Eheim has. This automatic fish feeder can operate from 3-6 months when fully charged.
See, its USB cable can go a long way. Be careful not to get obsessed in this long-term auto fish feeding operation!
Two installation styles
The brand knows how aquarists have different ideas of how they want their auto fish feeders to look in their tanks. Well, for those who wish to their tanks free from attachments, the product has a pedestal installation option.
The other method is the classic paste-on-tank wherein you use a double-side sticker to keep the automatic fish feeder secured on the aquarium.
We advise you to consider the feeder capacity when picking the best automatic fish feeder for your tank. Many auto fish feeders have a standard size that can’t cater to big aquariums.
However, this one may look like your average automatic fish feeder, but it still has a 200ml capacity that covers a broad range of tank sizes.
Four feeding schedules
This product enables you to set up to 4 exact feeding times every day and 1-3 rotation every time. This will allow you to have a flexible option depending on different demands or situations.
Whether you’re going on a vacation or just working on a few things for half a day, you can trust this feeder to do the work for you.
Now that we’ve convinced you of how good this device is, it’s time to let you know why it’s only third in our run-down. Well, it is not as aesthetically pleasing as the previous two devices.
The feeder looks a little odd and isn’t exactly a useful accessory, especially if the aquarist wants a seamless and sleek design for their aquarium. Still, if you could care less about how the tank looks with a device that will ensure proper nutrition for your fish, then here goes your best automatic fish feeder.
The previous product is a catch, and we found one that looks like it. Okay, that’s maybe not its best-selling point.
However, this Zacro auto fish feeder is one of the best automatic fish feeders in the market due to its efficient functions. Here’s a list to prove it:
Two power supply types
The Zacro automatic fish feeder beats both Eheim and TOPBRY when it comes to the power supply. This device can be recharged using a USB or using batteries.
It’s good to have both as each aquarist deals with different circumstances anyway. That is why we love this product. We appreciate its thoughtfulness, which is vital like the device’s primary purpose.
Long working time
Like TOPBRY’s automatic fish feeder, this one also lasts up to 3-6 months if fully charged. It is due to its large-capacity lithium, which we have found to be rare in many auto fish feeders.
Speaking of large capacity, this automatic fish feeder has a large size that can support up to 600-liter fish tanks. The feeder also has a feed bucket that has a 200ml capacity for different fish feed like granules, flakes, pellets, and even powders.
Four feeding schedules
The device can hold four feeding schedules a day and has up to 3 rotations each time. This way, you can both rely on the automatic fish feeder to do all the work and feed the fish manually if you wish without any trouble.
The device is color green, and it also looks pretty odd compared to our two auto fish feeders. If you prefer an auto fish feeder that fits into the whole tank, then this isn’t the right one for you.
Still, it has excellent features that can ensure your fish are properly nourished.
Let’s go a little unconventional and quirky this time. The Wieppo automatic fish feeder is one of the best automatic fish feeders in the market in terms of its unique look.
It’s pretty hard to explain its look in words, but we can assure you that it has top-notch functions on top of its fun look.
Unconventional timer mechanism
It’s interesting how this automatic fish feeder works. It has three different timer settings—8h, 12h, 24h—while competitors only have 2.
Another thing that makes this device’s mechanism stand out from the rest is that the manual feeding option doesn’t change the settings for automatic feeding. We know how it can be draining to reset things when you’re already in a rush to head to your getaway.
Two power supply types
Like the previous product, this device can be recharged using a USB cable or powered by an AA battery. This is a fantastic feature for toy-looking auto fish feeders like this one, so we’re all for it!
Most auto fish feeders only have multiple chambers but not various sizes of them in one. This device has 50ml and 100ml to cater to different fish tank sizes.
Also, it’s good to have this option under exceptional circumstances we understand only aquarists will understand. Still, this device plays last in our list due to its lack of long-term ventilation security.
Auto fish feeders are not as complicated as you think they were, right? You have to keep in mind that the primary goal of getting yourself one is to ensure your fish eat on regular periods.
Of course, we still advise you get one that aligns with your display preference. With the options we cited, you can have both or either.
Just remember that the best automatic fish feeder depends on which one can satisfy your fish feeding needs. With all the information we gave you in different sections, we’re pretty sure you’ll do well in selecting and operating your automatic fish feeder.
Don’t forget not to get too obsessed with your auto fish feeder though. We know how addictive it is with its efficiency and high-tech features, so trust us we also find it that irresistible but the fish are the priority here!