I Thought Everyone Should Have an Automatic Feeder

Discussion in 'Fish Food' started by fish gazer, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    *EDIT TITLE: I Thought Everyone Should Have an Automatic Feeder!


    If you take a look at fish in nature, they have two simple goals throughout their lifetime:

    To feed and mate.

    I hear some people saying, "keep a routine when feeding your fish" or "feed your fish once a day". But this is a little strange to me. Depending on the size of your fish, their digestive systems can't always handle a big meal at one time and what are they doing for the rest of the day? They just don't swim around, they are actually seeking food.

    I think if you are purchasing young fish, you should spread their feeding throughout the day, like we do to babies. They're no different. This will help them grow and develop properly. Then you can reduce their feedings throughout the day as they mature into adults. We tend to eat huge meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and how do we feel after? Instead, if we had little snacks during the day, we'd feel better balanced.

    There is also the aspect that we enjoy feeding our fish to somehow bond with them, so you should still take care of one or two of the feedings yourself, but really, a tiny bit! Let the feeder dish out small portions throughout the day.

    I saw an Eheim one that I might get one day, they also make it in a double so that you can place two different types of food in the chambers. It's also good to have handy if you go away on vacation or something.

    Maybe I sound crazy. Lol.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  2. Coradee

    CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    I agree with the little & often for fry & I don't have a set routine for feeding my fish though they do know when I approach the tank food might follow.
    As for automatic feeders I've heard too many stories about them malfunctioning & food getting damp & sticking to them, not such a problem if you're at home & notice & can fix it, however I wouldn't use one at all.
  3. OP
    fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    You're right about the possibility of food sticking and clumping part. I think the Eheim one has like a air propeller or some mechanism to keep the food dry, so they say! Would have to try it to really know, but it sounds interesting.

  4. hollie1505

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    We as humans, are animals, and are here to mate. To mate, we must eat to keep alive to do so, much like fish. It doesn't mean this is our only goal in life and each of us have individual goals. Now, I'm not saying that any fish wishes to become a financial adviser but as fish can't tell us everything I find it hard to accept that all they think is "eat, mate, eat, mate"... there must be some other thoughts, somewhere. I actually believe fish are much more intelligent than we give them credit for. I have nothing to base this on, but there aren't many animals we understand better which have such... simple (?) minds.

    I feed my fry 3-4 times a day with crushed flakes/ crushed pellets and completely agree with your comparisons to fish and human babies. I fast all my fish except fry one day a week but, that's to combat bloating and potential overfeeding. If I fed my fish every time they 'asked me' they probably wouldn't be here or would be very fat! Because they don't knwo when they are full, they don't know when to stop so I prefer to feed them little by little and be there to remove any leftovers from the tank.

    I wouldn't use an automatic feeder personally, but that's more to do with my OCD than anything else. I also soak all my food before feeding so I don't think the automatic feeder would work for me anyway, like coradee says, it would get stuck and being damp anyway would quickly rot.x

  5. OP
    fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    Lol at "financial advisor." I honestly don't know all the thoughts that go though their heads, if they even have any, just that they do have certain main instincts.

    It's just misleading when you buy fish and they say "ya, once a day is good" but most of the fish sold at the lfs are young fish that require their feedings to be spaced out during the day. And skipping feeds is also good too, they don't always need to be eating, just like us!

    You're right! I don't think an automatic feeder is necessary. I just realized my harlequins would snatch up all the food every time and my bottom swimming fish would eventually starve to death! Not a good idea!

    I think what's necessary is not to follow a strict feeding routine for adult fish. And if you're home and able to space out your feeding, that would be ideal.
  6. hollie1505

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    I guess what I was trying to say was that we are all here for a reason, and although on the outside that reason is to reproduce, it is not the only thing we strive for, and I'm assuming that fish are similar... However, looking at the way my male mollies have gone for the ladies in the past definitely supports your theory more than mine!.

    Honestly, most of my fish food says feed 3-4 times per day and give an amount. But as you say, that will depend on the fish. In my opinion this is a correct estimation for fry but for adult fish is simply far too much food.

    As a stay at home mum (I am returning to work in a week, aarghhh!) it has been very easy to feed my fish rather specifically, the goldies and betta are hand fed too. But as I say, I am around to do this. Once I am back at work I know this will have to change so I can see why it's not only unnecessary to follow a strict feeding routine, but sometimes impossible!

    It would be great to have an automatic feeder that selected from a variety of foods, prepared them, served them in exactly the right portions and cleaned up any left residue after tea time... Do you know any brands? haha. Actually if I had this, I know I would miss feeding them!x
  7. OP
    fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    Lol. Not that I know of! I think the closest thing out there would be hiring a company to feed your fish! But I'd do like you and hand feed all day if I could, I enjoy it when I can. I guess we do our best with our own situations.

    We definitely cant mimic nature to a t but as long as we are aware, that's a good start :)

    My Fluval Tropical Fish Flakes says to feed daily for what they can consume in 2 minutes 2 or 3 times daily. Same instructions for Nutrafin Max Spirulina Tablets.

    But that doesn't factor in size of fish, filtration, tank size, etc.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2014
  8. _Fried_Bettas_

    _Fried_Bettas_Well Known MemberMember

    I measured it, I spend more than 90 minutes a day just feeding fish. I wish I had an automatic feeder that could automatically feed all my fish in 100 jars and 20 other tanks. It would have to be a fairly advanced piece of robotics :) Until then they have me, my phone is programmed to beep 5 times a day so I don't forget to feed the little ones. Actually would probably be a bad idea to automate too much of it. Can't spot problems with them without the frequent interaction.
  9. matsungit

    matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    My community tank needs a diverse diet. There's the algae wafer for my pleco. Fish flakes for those who eat it. And then there's frozen blood worms, mysis shrimp, and brine shrimp all soaked in garlic and vita-chem. I have quite a number of fish that will only eat meat. I just wish someone would invent an automatic feeder for frozen food.
  10. _Fried_Bettas_

    _Fried_Bettas_Well Known MemberMember

    They do have automatic worm feeders, but I think they are just for live worms.
  11. hollie1505

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    Well said! I think we must remember that fish are wild animals we have adopted into our homes and bred the way we like them but at the end of the day, they deserve a life as close as we can replicate to that which mother nature so beautifully provides!
  12. OP
    fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    Exactly hollie1515, I mean, we do our best but, if we actually cared enough and thought about it, I don't think anyone of us would even keep fish unless we had a lake in the backyard! That would be IDEAL!

    But, it is a hobby and we keep them in tanks to enjoy and some of us do the best we can to provide the ideal environment for them, considering our budgets, time, space, and aesthetic needs :)
  13. hollie1505

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    Of course it would be best if they all lived in the wild and mother nature looked after them but... As long as we are doing our very best to provide our fish with the best we can offer them, I see no harm in keeping them for a hobby.

    Although the word "hobby" isn't used when it comes to any other pets, they are "family" and this is the way I like to think of my fish, not something I do to keep myself busy and potter around with but something I hold close to my heart and will care for and provide for with every inch of my being.xx
  14. _Fried_Bettas_

    _Fried_Bettas_Well Known MemberMember

    It is also not a small consolation, that the majority of these species we keep would be extinct if we did not do so. And even more so in the near future as the natural habitats are more and more often being encroached on by "civilization."
  15. OP
    fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    I actually watched a documentary on the natural habitats of some of our tropical fish that we keep. It was very interesting to learn that these fish come from larger bodies of water and then end up in the murky lakes and rivers and once the conditions get very harsh and eventually dries up, every single one of them dies and the cycle continues like that through the seasons.

    I had no idea!
  16. hollie1505

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    I had never thought of it this way. It's a nicer sentiment than snatching wild animals and keeping them in small bowls :)
  17. poeticinjustices

    poeticinjusticesWell Known MemberMember

    I think one day fish keepers will be heroes. The way we're treating our environment, there won't be much left to enjoy in the wild.

    I'm not a fan of automatic feeders either. I add vitamins and garlic to my food plus I vary their diet too much too. Though I did once read this cool story about how goldfish were trained to press a feeder to dispense food. They even went so far as to only activate the feeders during certain times of day and the goldfish learned which time of day the feeder was active. I don't know how controlled the experiment was, but it was a nice story.

    It suggests to me there's a lot more going on in there than feeding instinct. You might argue for rote learning, sure, but I don't need much convincing. All I need do is watch how my fish interact with me and with each other to know there's a lot more going on in that tank than I can even begin to fathom. I believe my fish recognize the difference between feeding time and general interaction with me. At feeding time, they come near the surface to either get to the food first or be hand-fed. General interaction time they're just looking at me, wiggling and playing. I also find it really interesting to spy on them, haha.

    It's been a really interesting experience convincing my breeder ranchus to trust me. Before me, they only ever really knew other fish. Unlike pet store fish, they don't have people staring into their tanks all day every day. It took them awhile to learn to trust me. If I moved too quickly in front of their tank or stared too long, they would get uncomfortable and move away. But in time they've learned to trust me.

    I'm sure you could argue away a lot of this with the science of animal behavior, heck I can argue it away even as I'm typing it, but I choose to believe more than that. I feel it's especially true of bettas and goldfish, but then I am a little biased :)
  18. hollie1505

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    I like the story about the Goldies trained to get their tea. It just goes to show how much is going on in that little head of theirs, not so much the "forgets everything every three seconds" theory non-fish keepers seem to have.

    And I must agree with you on the Betts and Goldie front. My community tank think it's feeding time if I so much as think about looking at the tank, whereas Percy and The goldies will swim to the front of the tank without that frenzied "FOOOOD" thing they do which, is only at meal times. They are also my only fish which are hand fed and seem to enjoy when my son goes over to play with them ie. Trace his finger along the glass whereas the others try to eat said finger through the glass :)
  19. Dolfan

    DolfanFishlore VIPMember

    I use an auto feeder when I do on vacation. Aside from that I like to hand feed and I switch up different things all the time. Pellets, flakes, algae wafers, fresh veggies, freeze dried shrimp, I like variety.

    As for which auto feeder, I personally like this one I found.....


    It has 14 compartments that you can put pellets, algae wafers, flakes, really anything smaller then a dime. It works very good for me and slowly releases the contents of each compartment over the course of an hour or so. Most auto feeders are more designed for flakes, which is no good for my shrimp and fish. You can adjust the feedings from 1-4 times a day and if you go with the 1 feeding a day you can not refill the feeder for 14 days. I usually go with 2 feedings per day so it lasts me for 7 days. I don't go on too many vacations for more than 7 days.
  20. Witchydesign

    WitchydesignWell Known MemberMember

    I feed to varied to try an automatic feeder. Lots of frozen foods, and the serpaes i have like to bed fed small amounts throughout the day. Which is nice since my son insists the fish need "num nums" when he eats. While i dont let him feed the betta every time he thinks he needs to eat, it kind of takes away from the purpose of having the tanks. An automatic feeder would lose the lesson im trying to teach him. To be a responsible pet owner. Yes hes 2, but he has become a very pet responsible two year old. The lights go on when he wakes up, off during naptime, and off when he goes to bed. They get fed when he eats, and he helps for the most part. He even does the lights on the big tank since he can reach the button. So maybe for a vacation, but honestly im too scared something would go wrong. Id rather have my friend come over and use a daily pill box with thier food already set up for the day.

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