Best Automatic Fish Feeders

Any seasoned fish keeper knows that “little and often” is the best mantra when it comes to feeding fish. That’s all well and good in theory, but modern life has a nasty habit of getting in the way.

So whether you’re heading off on vacation or keep forgetting to feed your fish each morning an automatic fish feeder can be a godsend.

But what model is best?

In this guide we’ll take a deep dive into the world of automatic fish feeders. We’ll discuss the features you should keep an eye out for. We’ll examine how they work. And best of all, we’ll review a number of the most popular models currently on the market.

By the end you’ll be in a perfect position to choose the best automatic fish feeder for your needs. Let’s get started!

In a Hurry? Top 3 Automatic Fish Feeders

RankModelRating 
1EHEIM Everyday Fish Feeder

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)Check Pricing
2NICREW Automatic Fish Feeder

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)Check Pricing
3Fish Mate F14 Fish Feeder

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)Check Pricing

Features to Look out For When Choosing an Automatic Fish Feeder

Let’s start this article by putting automatic fish feeders under the microscope. The wide range of models currently on the market can be quite intimidating – so what should you look when when trying to decide which model is best for your purposes?

Food Dispenser Technique

Automatic fish feeders may be available in a variety of designs, but there are really only  two main types. The key difference between these types is how the fish food is actually dispensed into the water.

The first type of automatic fish feeder utilizes a rotating barrel and is the most common. The fish food goes into the barrel, which rotates as per the timer and drops a small amount of food into the aquarium. You can control the opening of the barrel to ensure the correct amount of food is dispensed.

Automatic fish feeders that employ the barrel design can hold a larger amount of food than other feeders. This can be helpful for vacation time, when you may want o feed for fish for some weeks while you’re away.

However, there’s one major issue with this type of automatic feeder. If you’ve more than one type of fish in the aquarium with different dietary requirements, then it becomes difficult to feed all of them simultaneously. You will essentially need a rotating barrel fish feeder for each type of fish.

The second type of fish feeder gives you complete control over the portion of food to be dispensed. You might say it resembles a pillbox with multiple small containers or trays. You fill these with the exact amount of food that your fish require.

If you have multiple fish in your aquarium you can fill up successive containers with specific foods for each of them and set the timer to dispense the contents of the containers at different times in a day to ensure all your fish are fed properly.

The drawback of this type is that the total amount of fish food you can load up isn’t a lot. So, at least every couple of weeks you will have to repeat the process.

Manual Release Button

Irrespective of which food dispensing technique matches your requirements, you should buy an auto fish feeder with a manual release button. This button lets you dispense food outside of the programmed timings. It’s important because it allows you to test the device to ascertain that the right amount of food is being dispensed.

Multiple Feedings

The importance of this feature depends entirely on your preference as well as the dietary requirements of your fish. So, if you like feeding your fish multiple times in a day then look for a fish feeder that offers such a feature – not all do.

Built-in Memory

If your automatic fish feeder doesn’t have a built-in memory, then every time you replace batteries the programmed feeding times will be reset to default and you will have to reprogram them. This might not seem like a major cause for concern, but it will feel like an unnecessary nuisance when you do have to reprogram the feeding times multiple times. So, ideally select an auto fish feeder that has this feature.

Detailed Reviews of the Best Automatic Fish Feeders

Now that you know what features you should look out for, the next obvious question is how the automatic fish feeders currently on the market actually stack up. In this section we’ll therefore take a closer look at some of the better-known models, and see how they compare with one another.

EHEIM Everyday Fish Feeder: Holds Large Amount of Food

The EHEIM fish feeder is compact and ideal for attaching to home aquariums. The feeder can hold up to 100ml or 3.3 fluid ounces worth of fish food, which can last up to 6 weeks depending on the feeding pattern, amount of food dispensed and the type of food.

Since the drum is transparent, you can keep a track of amount of food remaining at all times.

It is equipped with a fan and ventilation system to ensure that the food stays dry, though most of these fans are generally not particularly effective.

The EHEIM fish feeder lets you program up to 8 feedings daily and it has a manual release button that lets you test the portions being dispensed. To increase or decrease the amount of food being dispensed you can adjust the slider.

It requires 2 AA batteries to operate, which are included with the package. There is a battery level indicator as well to inform you when it needs replacement.

You get a 3-year guarantee for the auto fish feeder from EHEIM.

The dimensions of the device are 2.7 x 5.87 x 3.43 inches and it weighs 9.4 ounces.

Pros

  • Holds a good amount of food and the transparent drum lets you keep a track of the remaining food.
  • You can set up to 8 feeding times per day.
  • You can control the portion of food being dispensed with the adjustable slider.

Cons

  • People have complained about the quality of the clamp that needs to be used to attached the feeder to the aquarium.
  • The fan and ventilation is moderately successful at best in keeping the food dry.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Related:  Nassarius Snail Care

NICREW Automatic Fish Feeder: Best Value for Money Fish Feeder Packed with Features

The NICREW auto fish feeder offers a great set of features at a price much lower than other similar fish feeders in the market.

It lets you set up to 5 feeding times per day and up to 3 rotations during each feeding time. You also have control over the portion of food being dispensed each time with the adjustable slider.

If you generally like to feed by hand and want to use the auto fish feeder only while you’re traveling, then this device is for you as you can switch it off without losing the programmed feeding times.

It also features a manual release button. It has a basic fan and ventilation system in place as well to help keep the food dry, though as mentioned earlier, these aren’t as effective as the companies claim.

The package includes the two AA batteries required to operate the fish feeder.

Pros

  • You can pre-program up to 5 feeding times daily. Each feeding time can be further programmed to perform up to 3 rotations.
  • You can switch off the device without losing programmed timings.
  • Prevents clogging of food to a certain extent.
  • Priced much lower than competition.

Cons

  • There have been some complaints that excess food gets dispensed.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Fish Mate F14 Fish Feeder: Portion Control Fish Feeder That Can Dispense Multiple Meals Per Day

The Fish Mate F14 aquarium fish feeder employs the portion control technique and allows you to serve up to 14 meals. It also allows you to dispense multiple meals in a day, up to 4 meals per day to be precise. You can store all types of fish food in it, including flakes.

This auto fish feeder can be mounted either on the hood of the aquarium or the glass edge. The brackets required for the mount are provided with the package.

If you want to ensure that the food remains dry and doesn’t start clogging, there’s an option to attach an airline and blow it in dry air into the food container via a specialized aquarium air pump. You will have to buy the air pump separately.

You will require 1 AA battery to operate the feeder, which isn’t included in the package. There’s a battery condition indicator to inform you when the battery needs to be replaced.

The dimensions of the feeder is 4.7 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches and it weighs 6.6 ounces or under half-a-pound.

Pros

  • You can store 14 individual meals, which will give you complete control over the amount of food fed to the fish.
  • There’s the option to program multiple feedings per day.
  • It can be mounted both on the aquarium hood and the glass edge.
  • There’s a battery indicator to inform you when it needs to be replaced.

Cons

  • You will have to refill it with food at least twice a month and if you prefer multiple feedings per day, then the refills will be more frequent.
  • Battery not included with the package.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Petacc Automatic Fish Feeder: Food Containers in Two Different Sizes

The best part of the Petacc automatic fish feeder is that it provides food containers in two different sizes. The first has a capacity of 1.8oz or about 50ml and the second has a capacity of 3.5 oz or about 100ml. You can set feeding times based on frequency (once every 12 hours or once every 24 hours) and quantity.

It offers both automatic and manual feeding. In terms of installing the fish feeder, you can clip it onto the edge of the aquarium or stick it on the aquarium hood with the adhesive tape provided with the package.

Pros

  • The two different sized food containers are really convenient, especially if you travel for longer than a week at a time.
  • Easy to install and use.

Cons

  • There are only two options in regards to feeding times.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Related:  Best Filters for Betta Fish Tanks

IntelliFeed Fish Feeder: Keeps Fish Food Dry

The IntelliFeed fish feeder features a container-within-a-container design, which prevents moisture from clogging the fish food to a certain extent. The fish food is stored in the sealed inner container, which comes out of the external barrel and dispenses food by rotating. It then retreats into the barrel.

The other useful feature of this auto fish feeder is that you can pre-program it to dispense food between 2 and 12 times per day.

The dimensions of this auto fish feeder are 4.5 x 3 x 4 inches and it weighs 10.4 ounces or 0.65 pounds.

Pros

  • Keeps fish food dry for longer than other similar auto fish feeders.
  • The inner container holds a fairly large amount of food.
  • It can be placed upright on the hood of the aquarium, if you do not want to attach it to the side.
  • Up to 12 feeding times can be pre-programmed on this device.

Cons

  • All the programmed timings are lost if the device is shut down, which could happen in case of a power cut or if batteries are removed.
  • You need to break up the food into tiny pieces in order for the device to dispense it properly.
  • The price is quite steep.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Aquatika Automatic Fish Feeder: Programmable Fish Feeder

You can program up to 4 feedings per day with this easy-to-use fish feeder. It features a digital LCD display with controls.

The Aquatika fish feeder can be attached to aquariums of all sizes. You don’t have to make any extra modifications for different aquariums.

You can store all types of pellets (large and small) as well as flakes in this fish feeder.

Pros

  • The clamps on this fish feeder are adjustable, which makes it possible to be fitted on aquariums of different sizes and shapes.
  • It’s battery operated, which means that even if there’s no power, the fish feeder will complete its task of feeding the fish.
  • It can hold up to 3-4 weeks worth of food for bettas.

Cons

  • The amount of food dispensed during each feeding varies, which is a bit of an issue.
  • Sometimes moisture creeps into the food container and makes it soggy.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Conclusion: What is the Best Automatic Fish Feeder?

While no automatic fish feeder will ever fully replace the care and attention of an experienced fish owner, they can make life a lot easier for you. While I would personally be concerned about leaving any gadget to look after my fish for weeks on end, for a long weekend away these machines really can be a godsend.

Having looked at the options currently on the market, the best automatic fish feeders based on my research are:

RankModelRating 
1EHEIM Everyday Fish Feeder

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)Check Pricing
2NICREW Automatic Fish Feeder

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)Check Pricing
3Fish Mate F14 Fish Feeder

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)Check Pricing

Once you’ve selected and bought the automatic fish feeder that meets all of your requirements make sure to test it thoroughly for the first week. Yes, that’ll take up some of your time, but it’ll save you from headaches and hassles later on.

You need to test if the correct amount of food is being dispensed or not, because excess food might harm the fish and also increase the ammonia levels in the water. For this, you will have adjust the slider a few times till the ideal food portion is dispensed.

If the fish feeder has a manual release button, then the testing can be done within a single day.

Richard Adams

Leave a Comment