View Full Version : Automatic Continuous Feeder - DIY

01-28-2009, 12:43 PM
In my related research of reducing Inorganic Nitrate and Inorganic Phosphate, overfeeding was always an issue. Scrubbers help, by introducing live copepods to the tank, but the rest of the feeding always causes excess food to get stuck in the rock and sand, and rot. The solution to this is an Automatic Continuous Feeder. My exact application was for feeding NPS corals, but this will work for any corals, and most fish. Here is a pic and vid of the food being sprayed into the display:



Advantages of continuous feeding:

Overall: The ocean generally feeds it's corals continuously (although maybe more at night), so duplicating this allows the corals (and some fish, especially tangs) to eat more like they do in the wild.

Less rotting: When you manually feed once or twice a day, much of the food gets past the fish and corals, and rots in the rocks and sand. When you feed continuously, the fish and corals get most of the food before it settles. So you get to feed the same amount, but the fish and corals get more, and less rots.

Keep pumps running: Many people turn their return pump off while feeding, so that food does not go to the sump. This is not necessary with continuous feeding, since most of the food will be eaten in a few seconds, and thus won't even make it to the overflow. So pumps last longer.

Keep skimmer running: Many people also turn their skimmer off while feeding. Again this is not necessary; food removed by the skimmer is being constantly replaced by the feeder (you may have to feed a little more, however, to make up for it.)

Mandatory for NPS: Non Photo Synthetic corals must have as close to continuous feeding as possible. Some of the more difficult NPS will actually close up if you feed too much at one time; thus, small continuous amounts are the only way to keep them alive.

No forgotten feedings: While not critical to fish, some corals (and certainly NPS) may not open again if you miss too many feedings.

More accurate: Since the feeder is automatic, you know for sure how much you are feeding, and how much you have fed. This makes it easy to compare coral growths (as well as nuisance algae growth) while varying the feeding amounts.

Free time: I thought that I'd miss feeding, but I don't. I still get to watch the feedings (for me, every hour), I just don't have to stand up and do them.

The main requirements of the feeder were:

1. Tiny feeding amounts: As little as 0.1 milliliters at a time. The foods that I'm using (Reed's Phytofeast and Reed's Rotifeast for the NPS corals; Reed's Arctipods for the other corals and for the fish) are very concentrated. Reeds recommends that the foods not be diluted in water; so very very small amounts of the concentrate must be fed each time.

2. Adjustable feeding amounts: In order to experiment with how much can be fed before problems arise (like nuisance algae), it needs to be pushbutton-adjustable. If you are feeding non-concentrated foods like melted mysis cubes (1 cube = 3ml), you could easily adjust it to a higher amount.

3. Adjustable feeding schedule: As short as every few minutes, or as long as every couple of hours. Or just plain continuous.

4. Ability to feed very thick liquids, including melted mysis cubes.

5. Refrigeration: Would keep the liquid chilled at all times, with an adjustable temperature as low as freezing (but would not freeze it).

6. Capacity: Would hold enough to feed an entire month without refilling.

7. Would sit on top of tank, so that the food would go directly into the display. This means the unit would need to be small, quiet, and have a decent appearance.

8. Reliability: It would not fail (and thus not starve the tank.)

9. Mechanically Safe: No possibility, at all, of all the food being fed at once.

10. Electrically safe: Splashed water, condensation, or salt creep would not shock anything, and would not cause failure.

11. Settling: Larger pieces of food should not settle to the bottom of the food container.

12. Cost: This is subjective, but for me the ability to keep NPS corals, and to not have to feed again for an entire month, means that I'd be willing to spend several hundred dollars.

Here is my solution: An electronic wine chiller, connected to an enteral feeding pump, sitting on the top of the tank:


A "digital" or "electronic" wine chiller is a thermoelectric chiller that does not use a compressor; instead it only has a fan. Some models actually have a digital readout, but the one that worked best for me does not. An "enteral" feeding pump is a peristaltic medical pump designed to feed patients who cannot eat; it pumps liquid food directly into the intestine. (Note: An enteral pump is different from an "IV" pump).

Here is the "Wine Bottle Cooler/Warmer", as sold on Ebay:



Nov 17 2011: This particular unit does not seem to be available on Ebay anymore, but many other units are, and are even cheaper. However, I have no idea about their operating characteristics. Just search for "wine chiller".

Here is the Zevex EnteraLite Infinity feeding pump, as sold on Ebay:


To find them on Ebay, just search for "zevex infinity".

Here's how these two devices solved the continuous feeding problem...

(1) Tiny feeding amounts: Since enteral feeding pumps are designed to feed concentrated liquid foods to people, they are already set up to handle small amounts of these types foods. My display is about 100 gal, and my starting point was 0.4 milliliters every dose.

(2) Adjustable feeding amounts: This pump can pump as little as 0.1 ml at a time, and is adjustable by just pushing the up or down buttons. I'm feeding 0.4 ml per dose (about 10 ml per day) in my 100gal. A 10 gal nano could get about the same concentration of food by feeding 0.1 ml every 2 hours. As corals or fish are added/removed, or as filtering varies, you can adjust the feeding amount so that nitrate, phosphate and nuisance algae don't get out of control.

(3) Adjustable feeding schedule: This pump can feed as often as every 60 seconds. However, if I did this, I think the fish would hang out at the feeding tube and eat everything that came out. So I feed every hour; this way the fish can't get all the food, and it makes it to the corals.

(4) Thick liquids: Although you are not supposed to mix the Reed's products together for any length of time, it is a concession I had to make (otherwise I'd need three separate feeders). So, with all three mixed (I'm using one part phyto, one part rotifers, and four parts pods), it's a medium-thickness liquid, similar to coffee creamer. But if I wanted to add mysis, the pump would have no trouble with it (and the mysis would fit easily in the tubing.)

(5) Refrigeration: This was a tough one. Like other people, I first thought about a dormitory fridge, but that would be difficult to set on top of the tank. And you don't want a lot of distance between the fridge and the tank, because the food will be sitting at room temp (actually higher when it gets near the lights.) So the wine chiller works perfect. The distance of tubing from the chiller, through the pump, and into the water, is 24" (60cm) (although this could be shortened with creative placement and splicing). At my current rate of 0.4 ml/dose, the food moves 2.5" (63mm) per hour, thus staying at room temperature for 9.6 hours. Seems to be an acceptable time for my first attempt. Less is better, of course, because it's less nitrate and phosphate that bacteria will cause.

(6) High capacity: This was an easy add-on feature, since everything is already in place. The Zevex pump uses 500 or 1000 ml bags; the 500 bag fits right into the chiller, but not if you fill the bag all the way up. 120 ml (12 days of food at 10 ml/day) is no problem, however, with plenty of space. I'll be trying more soon.

(7) Top of Tank: When turned sideways, the chiller is only 6" (15cm) wide, and fits easily behind my light. And the pump can be laid flat, or stood up, or attached to the chiller (or pole, or bracket) with the included screw-on bracket. This allows the food to be released right in front of a powerhead, which sprays the food all over the corals/display.

(8) Reliability: The pump was designed for battery operation, and sure enough I've gone well over one month of operation without charging it. (Most medical patients use much more food than we do, so the time between battery charges is much much longer.) And if the bag runs out of food, a beeper lets you know.

(9) Mechanically Safe: The last thing you want is for a month's supply of food to be dumped in at once. Being a medical device that keeps people alive, there is very little chance of this pump failing in that fashion. And if the bag were to ever leak or break, it's inside the chiller (which you seal with silicone at the bottom), so the food would just sit there and stay cold.

(10) Electrically Safe: The pump is completely sealed; not just water resistant, but waterproof. The instructions actually say to wash the pump by pouring water on it. Salt creep or splashing is a non-issue. Electronically, there is no way for the pump to stick "on" and accidentally dump the whole bag. There are all sorts of safety features that would stop this from happening. The chiller is powered by just 12V (the transformer is a long ways away). While it would be possible to splash water on the chiller and short it out, it should not harm anyone/anything. If the chiller did fail, the food would still be fed to the tank, but it would just slowly start getting warmer over the next few hours.

(11) Settling: If you were to have a large container with thin and thick foods mixed together, the thick food (like mysis) would settle to the bottom and either not get used, or get used first. The feeding bags used by the pump, however, can be twisted and rolled up, thus making many small places for the bigger food to stay.

(12) Cost: The chiller is easy; mine was $20 USD (new in box) from Ebay; just add shipping. The pump is a different story. I monitored Ebay for two months, and saw these pumps sell for as little as $130 used, or up to $600 new. (They are $1500 retail). Plan to spend some time in your Ebay search, checking each day for a new listing. I paid $300 for mine, and $350 for another one. Another "ebay" site, for medical items, is DotMed.com. Just search for "zevex". In any case, make sure you get the blue Infinity, NOT the orange one. The orange one will not work.

Pump details:








Here's why you need to stick to this model chiller: All wine chillers will cool a bottle of wine, but the big differences are:

Will it cool to freezing? Some units will only cool to 25 or 30 degrees (F) below the room temp. The room temp near the lights could be 100 degrees, and thus, 70 degrees is too hot for the food. This unit can chill to freezing while it's right next to the lights.

Is the inside compartment waterproof? There will be constant condensation, melting ice, and the possibility of a broken bag. This model is almost waterproof the way it comes; with one application of silicon along the bottom seam, it is totally sealed.

Does it connect to 12V or 120V? You don't want 120V leading all the way up to the chiller. Instead you want the 120V to go to a converter/transformer (like with a laptop), and then have the low voltage wire run up to the chiller. This model works this way.

Will it continue to run if not touched? Many models are designed to turn off after a few hours. This model stays on constantly.

Here's why you need to stick to this model pump: There are hundreds of medical pumps on Ebay. You WILL be tempted to get a cheaper one (I got two cheapies, one for just $25! Was a complete waste of time.). Here's why you want to pay the extra money and stick to this Zevex model:

Small Dosages: This is the important one, and you probably won't find out until you get the wrong pump in your hands (I didn't). Most enteral and IV pumps are 1.0 ml minimum. This means that the smallest amount it will pump at one time is 1.0 ml. That's a LOT of concentrated food! (One mysis cube is 3 ml.) I'm currently dosing 10 ml/day. If I had to dose 1.0 ml at a time, I'd have to wait to dose about every two hours. And a 10g nano could only dose this once a day. So having a 0.1 ml capability opens up an entire world of feeding. The other advantage of small dosages is that you can dose even more often than once per hour. I could dose 0.1 ml every 15 minutes, and still end up with 10 ml/day.

Interval Feeding: This is the other important one. Many pumps don't have this option (and they don't list this info on Ebay, so you won't know); instead they dose a constant amount, all the time. If you dosed constantly, your most aggressive fish would hang out at the tubing and eat everything before the other fish and corals got anything. You need to burst out all the food at one, every so often. Of course, a coral-only tank is different, and fortunately the Zevex pump does continuous pumping also.

Not for IV use: IV pumps are those huge ten or twenty pound contraptions that are mounted on a pole in hospital rooms. They are very complex, and many of them have computer connections. And they are very expensive. The only way to get one under a few hundred dollars is to get one from the 1990's, but then it becomes impossible to finds the "drip sets" (or "cassettes") that you MUST have for it to work. I bought two of them, and could get neither to work without the cassettes.

Small Size: IV pumps are just too big to set on top of a tank. Even some enteral pumps are too big. But this Zevex model is probably the very smallest there is of ANY pump. And certainly the thinnest. Most pump pics on Ebay don't show or tell you how deep the pumps are. They look small, but when you get it, it's 9" or 12" deep. The Zevex is just 2" (5cm), including the tubing cover.

Waterproof: Very few pumps of any type are waterproof; they were made for the hospital room, not for walking around outside. But this Zevex pump, if operating on batteries, would actually work underwater if you dropped it in your tank.

Current Model: This model is NEW, and is CURRENTLY (January 2009) being manufactured (it just won the product of the year award for medical feeding devices.) This means that you will be able to get the feeding bags ("delivery sets", "pump sets") for many years. A delivery set (usually with a feeding back attached) is required to run the pump, since the pump detects that the proper set is installed. Delivery sets are cheap to buy, but impossible to DIY.

Looks Nice: I think this pump is the best looking of all of them. You won't see it very much on top of a larger tank, but on a nano it would be very noticeable.

Easy to Use: After reading the instruction book, you can set the options up in about 10 seconds. Adjustments like dosage and interval take about a second to adjust. It's an amazingly well built pump; I really think it's worth the $1500 retail.

Note: Some folks have experimented with syringe pumps. But syringe pumps are very large, not battery operated, and unless you get the expensive "retracting" models, then you have to take the syringe out and retract the plunger each time it bottoms out. Plus I'm sure these pumps are not waterproof. After looking at syringe pumps long and hard, I finally gave up and kept searching until I found the Zevex pump. I can see why continuous feeding has had a rough start until now.

Important: (1) Make absolutely sure you get the AC adapter with the pump. The adapter uses a proprietary waterproof connector to the side of the pump. You cannot use any other type of adapter, and you cannot buy this adapter anywhere else. (2) Get several "delivery sets" (also called "feeding bags" or "pump sets"). You have to replace them every so often; see recommendation further below. (3) Ebay requires the seller of medical devices to say something like "you must be a licensed medical professional to buy this product"; but don't worry, they never actually ask.

Pump operation:

AC power connector for charging battery (does not need to be connected to operate):

Open the cover:

The "delivery set" or "pump set", which is the blue flexible silicone tube, is stretched over the big black wheel to the left:


Close cover:

Cut the tubing so that it barely reaches into your tank water:

Now for the settings. Think of this pump as putting sugar into coffee, using a spoon. The size of the spoon is the "dose"; the time between spoons is the "interval"; and how fast you pour the spoon in is the "rate". We only care about adjusting the size of the spoon (dose), and how much time between spoons (interval). We do not care how fast we pour the spoon in, so it might at well be as fast as possible so the fish don't hang out at the pipe and eat it all.

Set how much you want dosed each time; I started by setting it to 0.4 ml:

Set how often (interval) you want it to dose; I started with once per hour:

Set the rate; Max is 600 ml/hr:

Now mix your food ahead of time; I started by using 1 part phyto, 1 part rotifers, and 4 parts pods:

Mix together and pour it into the bag:

Get as much air out of the bag as you can before you put the cap on. Then, turn it over and use the "prime" button to pull the remaining air out (might take a while.) The less air in the bag, the less bacteria will cause nitrate and phosphate to develop:

Now you are ready to fold the bag and put it into the chiller. This is 120 ml of food in the 500 ml bag (it could hold a lot more):

Fold the side with the tubing first, so that it stays on the inside (which helps keep it from freezing.) Don't fold it "tight" or you will cut off the flow. Just curve it around. If you get a "No Flow In" warning after running it, it's either because you folded this too tight, or something has started to freeze:

Next fold the other side; the idea here is to surround the tubing to keep it from touching the metal wall of the chiller:

A very thin towel (or a small filtersock), lining the metal chiller wall, will keep the bag from touching it and will help keep it from freezing (this is only needed if you keep the thermostat set to full cooling):

Insert the bag into the chiller/towel, but be very careful to not bind the tubing where it connects to the bag at the bottom, and also keep the tubing in the middle as it leaves the chiller; you don't want it getting near the heat outlets on the sides of the chiller:

Now fold down the cap of the bag into the chiller:

Fold the remaining towel (if used) over the top, or if you used a filtersock, cover it. You'll have to experiment with how much towel to use, and how tight, so that it does not freeze:

Instead of a towel, you may try inserting a small filtersock:

Covering the filtersock loosely will keep the food less cold:

Covering the filtersock tightly will keep the food more cold:

Lastly, use the "prime" button again to bring the food all the way to the end of the tubing, and then push "run". It will begin by pumping one dose, and then the timer will wait for the next one. At anytime, you can push the "vol/total" button and it will display how many ml has been fed since you pressed "run":

To make any pump adjustments, push the "run/pause" button first (which pauses it), and then make your changes. You can reset the "total amount fed" to zero by pushing the "clear" button when it is displaying. You can turn the unit off while it's running or paused; when you turn it back on, it will be in the same state (run or paused) that is was in when turned off. And it remembers all settings, including total amount fed, even it you unplug the AC adapter.

Things to watch out for:

Bag positioning if noise is a concern: The chiller has a thermostat, but the annoying thing about it is that it clicks every 30 seconds or so as it adjusts temperature. If it's in your basement, then it's no problem. But if it sits on the tank like mine does, or if it's in your bedroom, then you don't want this clicking. The way to eliminate it is to put the temperature selector on the coldest setting. This causes the thermostat to always stay "cooling". This fixes the clicking. However the temperature can get very cold after a day or so, and if you seal the top of the chiller with a towel, then the food will eventually freeze. To prevent this, leave the top of the chiller loosely open, and don't push the bag in down to the bottom. Use a towel, loosely wrapped around the bag, to keep the bag from touching the metal walls or bottom of the chiller. This works; it won't freeze. But if you wrap it too much, then the food will not stay cold enough. So this is certainly one area where experimenting will help. Of course if you don't mind the clicking, the thermostat will keep the food perfectly at just above freezing for you.

Frozen spots: If you are using the "quiet" option where the chiller stays running constantly (no thermostat clicking), keep a close eye on the parts of the bag that touch the metal walls. If it's going to freeze, it will probably take 24 hours, or maybe even 48. So check it the next few days by pulling the bag out and squeezing/mixing it all around, especially the bottom where it connect to the tubing. If any part is frozen, then use paper or a towel to keep the bag away from the wall. Also, you could pull the bag up a little, so it gets more air. A good idea is to wrap the bag around the tubing, before you slide the bag in. You might also put a thermometer in with the bag, which sticks out the top, so you can see it while it's running.

Tube near heat: Watch where the tubing goes when it leaves the chiller and heads to the pump. Hot air exits the chiller on both sides, so you want to route the tubing along the back part. Avoid strong lights too.

Charger for pump: You don't need the AC charger to operate the pump, but you do need to plug it in once a month or so, for six hours, to charge it back up. So make sure you can get the charger cable to the pump, without having to move the pump. Of course, you could also just run the pump with the adapter connected, but that's one more cable going to the top of the tank.

Power failures: If the power goes off, nothing happens to the pump; it keeps working on its batteries. The chiller however will stop. But the important point is that this model chiller, when the power comes back on, will switch to full-cooling (no thermostat). This is fine if you were previously running full-cooling, but if you had a temperature set (because you did not mind the clicking), the food will freeze when the power comes back on. For this reason I really recommend the full-cooling setting to be used all the time.

Tube in display water: You want the tube to go into the tank water, so that it does not dry out. If kept above the water, food slowly starts drying out at the tip, slowly clogging it, and causing it to start spraying sideways.

First attempts: I recommend trying it first in your sink, using just water in the bag. Do everything including putting it into the chiller, and letting it run for a few hours. If ok, then fill with food and start it. This first time, and anytime you make changes to the bag, try not to do it right before you go to bed, because if you folded the bag too tight, or if it freezes, the "No Flow In" alarm will sound and wake you up. Better to do it in the morning.

Settings: When first trying to set the settings, it may sometimes not want to accept the numbers you try to set. This is because you have selected a dosing combination that is not possible. For example, if you accidentally set the rate to 0.1 ml per hr (instead of 600), and set the dose to 0.2 ml, and then set the interval to 1 hour, it won't accept it because if you dose 0.2 ml every hour, that is more food than the 0.1 that you set the rate for. Keep the rate at 600 and you should not get stuck as much.

Tubing replacement: The tubing "sets", according to the operating manual, are designed for 24 hours of use at 125 ml/hr. This is a total of 3 liters that the tubing would flow, before it starts to "wear out". Since I'm only pumping 0.4 ml/hr (.0004 L/hr), it would take 7500 hours, or 312 days, before the "wearing out" started to occur. And I'm sure the manufacturer is being conservative since someone's life is on the line. So 6 months (180 days) would seem to be a good replacement time at 0.4 ml/hr. If you were pumping 0.8 ml/hr, you would replace every 90 days, etc.

Proper pump model: Make SURE you get the Zevex EnteraLite Infinity blue pump. There are other EnteraLite pumps which are not Infinity, and they WON'T work. And there is another Infinity which is orange and not blue; it WON'T work.


Several things could be improved with more tinkering or more money:

Separate units: Reeds Foods recommends not mixing food unless just before feeding. This would be accomplished with the (expensive) addition of a chiller/pump unit for each type of food you feed (I use three).

Temperature alarm: Would tell you if the bag gets too warm, or if it starts to freeze. I imagine a freezer alarm would work.

Shorter tubing: The length of tubing from the chiller to the pump could be reduced by 6" or so, if you cut it and spliced it with a connector. You'd need to test it though, to make sure the food you are using can get through the connector. Mysis might be a problem.

Mixing: Although the crinkled and rolled bag will keep much of the food from sinking to the bottom, somebody should find a small, cheap paddle or servo that will shake or vibrate the bag every so often.

Fan quietening: The chiller uses a computer fan that runs all the time. On larger tanks the sound is not noticeable, but on smaller or quieter tanks, or tanks in your bedroom, the fan could be made slower/quieter by inserting a resister into the power lead of the fan. The chiller is powerful and freezes as is; less chilling won't hurt anything. You'll have to experiment with the resistor size.

Food types: With some experimentation, you could mix some solid foods (crushed flakes, tiny pellets, etc) into liquid foods, and maybe even add some type of thickener to it, to keep the solids suspended. Krill is too big for the tubing, but large mysis or small ghost shrimp should fit. Always test it first.

Related Information:

Article recommending continuous feeding:
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-02/r ... /index.php (http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-02/rs/feature/index.php)

Zevex Pump Manufacturer:

Ebay for medical devices (search for "zevex"):

Zevex operating manual:

One of the U.S. distributors of the chiller:
http://www.vinotemp.com/View.aspx/3003/ ... ler-Warmer (http://www.vinotemp.com/View.aspx/3003/Single-Bottle-Wine-Chiller-Warmer)

Chiller operating manual:
http://www.vinotemp.com/Resources/Docum ... hiller.pdf (http://www.vinotemp.com/Resources/Documents/1BottleChiller.pdf)

02-04-2009, 04:22 PM
Well as a test, in order to stimulate a dark purple gorg that was not opening, I increased the daily dose to 21.6 ml, and reduced the interval to 20 minutes (0.3 ml per 20 minutes). It worked; the gorg started opening all night, and about half the daytime. The dendronephtha was already always inflated, so no change there. However I don't know if it was the increase in food, or the decrease in interval, that caused the change.

Figuring the increase in food would overload the scrubber, I added a small bag of Rowaphos. All is well so far; N is clear, and P is just a very slight blue that almost looks clear. But I'm going to remove the Rowaphos soon and see what happens. I'll also be looking for my next round of NPS to add, after I make some tank videos.

02-10-2009, 09:43 PM
NPS report:

Well I've pulled the Rowaphos out, and will monitor to see if N or P climbs (both are basically "clear"). The P was really low while the Rowa was in there... P was coming out of the rocks, frag plugs, and even the coralline (evidenced by algae growing on those spots, but not on the spots right next to them). The test-gorg I got about three weeks ago (very dark purple body and polyps; unknown sp.) has grown back a 1/2" (12mm) section of bare skeleton. The gorg originally stayed open 24/7, but now stays open only at night. The white dendronephtha still stays inflated about 90 percent of the time, day or night. It has re-oriented itself to point downwards, instead of the sidways/upwards that I glued it at. Goniporas all open and feeding 24/7. Tubastreas now open mostly at night. No target feeding; all feeding for the last 5 weeks has been from the continous feeder. NPS feeding volume is now 0.3ml per 20 minutes (21.6 ml/day). A large part of the feed is Arctipods, which probably doesn't contain much for the NPS, however.

02-19-2009, 07:51 AM
Well I guess a system needs a period of time to be able to fully use the amount of food given to it. Origianlly I was getting some N after feeding smaller amounts of food from the Feeder, but then after removing the GFO, and increasing the feeding to 28 ml/day, N and P remained zero from there. I've now upped the Feeder to 43 ml/day (on my 100g). I wish I could have started out at this level.

From an NPS point of view, the good news is that the tubastreas and goniporas are all taken care of automatically (no target feeding). Goniporas are open/inflated 24 hours, and the tubastreas are open all night and partially during the day. The scleronephthya stays a little open, although it was fully open in the sump. Mabye I'll move it back down to the sump. The white dendronephtha seems thinner, although it is 90 percent open. The purple gorg has stopped opening/growing. It has not receded or grown algae yet though. The 1 cm damaged area regrew for a few weeks (when the polyps were still coming out); it got to within 1 mm of being fully repaired, but stopped. I wish I would have had the current feeding amount when I put the white and the purple ones in. The feeding level then was 1/4 of what is is now.

I'm still mixing one part phyto, one part roti, and 4 parts pods. Soon I'll probably increase the phyto and roti parts, since that's what's important for the white and purple guys. But I still need to increase slowly, since the goal is to do it with zero N and P.

02-23-2009, 03:05 AM
Sounds like it's doing welll!
Shame about the gorgonia, they can be a real pain to keep happy! I've found increasing water flow to the gorg helped for me, but unfortunately it got algae growth being closer to the lights =(

02-26-2009, 08:05 AM
Well 43 ml per day was too much for the scrubber to handle by itself. I was cleaning over a pound of algae from the scrubber each week, but it was just not enough (this scrubber was just sized normally, and with only one screen.) My ultra low phosphate situation ended quickly, and I started getting a light pastel blue in the Salifert phosphate test (nitrate stayed clear, however.) So now it's back down to 28 ml per day, and dosing is now every 10 minutes. I also put some gfo back in to speed up the recovery.

I must say that the increased food did seem to speed up the growth of the digitaga, stylaphora, birdsnest and superman. The tubastreas and goniporas are happy as always. The white dendronephtha is not so well; I either started the increased food too late after putting the coral in, or I have the wrong food, or it was just not enough food. Could be flow too, off course. But it's starting to hang and not inflate. No change in the scleronephthya... still partially open. I'm going to move it to a lower flow area. The dark purple gorg did not make it. It was not receding or growing algae, but it completely stopped opening, so it was just a matter of time.

For nephthas and nps gorgs, I'm going to try just getting many small ones of the same type, and putting them in different places. That should help identify flow problems, since food is constant throught the tank.

One big nice thing is not having to feed the fish anymore. Every 10 minutes they are chasing the food that is coming out of the tube.

04-27-2009, 01:35 PM
Hi SantaMonica,

I love this idea! I've been looking for this type of system. The major problem is the cost of the autofeeder. The cheepest I found it is $1,1000.

Now I know this type of devise isn't going to be cheep, but that's past my current budget. Do you have any ideas of less expesive substitute?

04-27-2009, 01:43 PM
Side note, if you don't mind.

You seem to know what food it takes to keep goniaporas alive (Phyto & Roti).

Is this experience or a new studdy? I've lost 2 of them over the last year. Nothing I read online seems to know how to keep them alive.

If your present ones are thriving (thread-listed feeding unfortunateness aside), would you mind sharing your secret? I want to have one but I feel terrible risking its life without some more facts.


05-17-2009, 12:08 PM
I'm just experimenting; no recommend results yet.

05-18-2009, 02:07 AM
Hi SantaMonica,

I love this idea! I've been looking for this type of system. The major problem is the cost of the autofeeder. The cheepest I found it is $1,1000.

Now I know this type of devise isn't going to be cheep, but that's past my current budget. Do you have any ideas of less expesive substitute?

hi i am looking at it to and the price is out of this world to much for me

05-18-2009, 02:40 AM
You can get peristaltic pumps pumps from ebay for pretty cheap, I got a "Aspen" peristaltic pump to pump water into my "sump" in the loft for the original scrubber I had, got it cheap on ebay and has worked continuously 24x7 for 9 months, the Aspen one was designed for air-conditioning units to pump condensation out, but works perfectly for my needs (pumps at a rate of 6 litres/hour), the only other thing you need would be a decent electronic timer, that's what would cost the money.

05-18-2009, 11:12 AM
any one know if this auto feeder is any good ( Reactor - Auto Phyto/Frozen Feeder 200mls )
saw it on ebay
http://www.cleartides.com/page28.htm look at this link

05-18-2009, 12:32 PM
If you can feed 24ml per day or more, then you can get a used Ross Patrol on Ebay for under $100 USD

06-17-2009, 08:16 AM
Very interesting.
A daily feeding dosage (mine's about 10 ml/day), mixed with prepared water to bring up to 24ml, then chilled (per your idea) and pumped throughout the day would work in my opinion. The only thing to watch is if the food settles poorly.

I think I'll try it, and let you know.

07-30-2009, 10:18 AM
can this be used here is the link
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ROSS-FLEXIFLO-PAT ... .m63.l1177 (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ROSS-FLEXIFLO-PATROL-DOSING-PUMP-W-NEW-TUBING_W0QQitemZ330337866734QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_ DefaultDomain_0?hash=item4ce9abd3ee&_trksid=p3286.m63.l1177)

07-31-2009, 07:54 PM
Like most enteral feeding pumps, it goes down to 1.0 ml/hr, which is 24 ml/day. You'll have to dilute your food with rodi to do that, and your storage/chilling container will thus be much larger. But yes it will work.

I got up to 73 ml/day but overloaded my scrubber. Now I'm back to 12 ml/day. It's amazing the difference in coral growth at the higher levels.

08-03-2009, 11:43 AM
Very interesting project, SantaMonica. It looks like this system would have many applications, for larval and microphagous fish, molluscs, and crustaceans as well as corals. I look forward to more updates!

One question: when you use mysis, are the shrimp crushed by the wheel on the pump? I am curious about using the system with live microcrustacea, but this would not work if there is too much compression at the wheel.

08-05-2009, 08:29 PM
There is no compression for the most part... the food stays between the wheels.

However, I found that mysis get stuck in the anti-back-flush valve. So I removed that valve, and filed smooth any internal edges I could find. I'm now feeding blended oysters and phyto, at particle up to 2mm, with no problem.

09-17-2009, 10:23 AM
santa can this be used http://www.dotmed.com/listing/579813 :roll:

09-18-2009, 05:18 PM
No, it's lowest is 1.0 ml per hour:

http://www.moog.com/products/medical-pu ... nteralite/ (http://www.moog.com/products/medical-pump-systems/enteral-feeding-pumps/enteralite/)

Here are other options:

Kangaroo Pet: Is 1.0 ml per hour, but you can delay it a number of hours.
Zevex EnteraLite Infinity: Is 0.1 ml per hour (the one I use).
Cadd-Prizm VIP 6161: Is 0.1 per hour.
Baxter AP II Ambulatory Infusion Pump: 0.1 per hour (continuous, so might clog)
Zevex Entera Orange Enteral Feeding Pump: 0.1 per hour.
Ross Embrace: 1.0 ml per hou, but you can delay it a number of hours.

Get them from Ebay... it is much cheaper.

09-19-2009, 04:22 AM
No, it's lowest is 1.0 ml per hour:

http://www.moog.com/products/medical-pu ... nteralite/ (http://www.moog.com/products/medical-pump-systems/enteral-feeding-pumps/enteralite/)

Here are other options:

Kangaroo Pet: Is 1.0 ml per hour, but you can delay it a number of hours.
Zevex EnteraLite Infinity: Is 0.1 ml per hour (the one I use).
Cadd-Prizm VIP 6161: Is 0.1 per hour.
Baxter AP II Ambulatory Infusion Pump: 0.1 per hour (continuous, so might clog)
Zevex Entera Orange Enteral Feeding Pump: 0.1 per hour.
Ross Embrace: 1.0 ml per hou, but you can delay it a number of hours.

Get them from Ebay... it is much cheaper.
i am trying but the wont ship to the Uk

09-19-2009, 10:34 AM
There are plenty in the UK on ebay. Just keep looking. I had to watch Ebay for several weeks to find mine.

09-20-2009, 09:19 AM
santa will this work http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... K:MEWAX:IT (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170361003645&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT) the chiller
and this for pods http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... K:MEWAX:IT (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290346401411&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT)

09-20-2009, 01:46 PM
I'm sure the pods will be fine. Any continuous feeding is better than what you were doing before. I'm currently just feeding blended oysters. After yours is running, you can experiment with all the different sized particle foods.

The question in the cooler. The most important thing, is that when the power goes off and back on, does it come back on without having to touch it. Mine does. That one may not. You'll have to try it. If your power goes off (you turn off the wrong switch, etc), you don't want to have all the food get warm.

The other thing is how cold it gets. You want as near to freezing as you can get. Mine gets below freezing at night, and a little warmer during the day.

One last thing... if you get a pump of 1.0 ml/day (the cheap ones), you'll need to dilute your food with RODI so that you don't feed as much.

09-21-2009, 01:49 AM
just got hold of Zevex EnteraLite Infinity pump $157.00 ebay hurray :lol:

02-17-2010, 11:39 AM
In my year of usage, I've refined things a bit:

1. I'm only feeding blended oysters now. Is much simpler, and cheaper, and covers all particle sizes from 1 to 200 microns. Most important: Oysters STAY SUSPENDED. Most other foods will settle to the bottom and clog the tubing. I'm using Reef Nutrition Oyster Feast, but similar would be fine. This food will stay suspended a whole month without touching it!

2. I don't get the air out of the feeding bag first.

3. Put a 4" filtersock in the chiller first (fits perfectly, and covers the icy cold steel wall). Then put a 1/2" or so of paper towel on the bottom, to keep the bag off the very-cold bottom area. Then just lightly put the bag in. No need to cover the top if you leave the chiller on "continuous".

4. Wrap the tubing to keep light and heat away from it, especially the heat from the chiller. Also, for the part of the tubing that goes from the pump to the tank, if you wrap it with a thin towel and let the towel touch into the tank water, the water will keep the towel wet, and therefore keep it cool.

5. Clean the air-filter on the chiller periodically.

6. For NPS, especially any seafan, put them near and in the direct flow of a powerhead. Even though the polyps may look like they are bending out of shape, they are still getting the most food this way.

7. Super high flow throughout the display, and sump, is critical. You don't want anyplace where the flow stops, since the food will settle out. While settling may help feed the snails, it won't help the corals.

8. Keep a thermometer in the chiller, which you can see while walking by. It stays between 28 and 33 degrees F. The food won't freeze as long as you have a filter sock covering the walls, and have paper towels stuffed at the bottom, and don't cover the top.


I once turned off the feeder (but kept feeding the fish/eel) for a month. Every NPS died, along with some other corals, within 3 weeks. The notable exception was a copper colored flower pot that thrives. I never target fed, and won't.

The medical pump has been found on Ebay for as little as $100 USD.

Get a backup chiller. They are cheap, but not sturdy. I had one go out.

Continous feeding puts a ton of food into the water, so start doing it SLOWLY, maybe just 1.0 ml per DAY (not per hour), to see if your Nitrate and Phosphate filtration can keep up. It takes about 3 weeks for the effects of the excess food to show up as increased Nitrate or Phosphate or nuisance algae, so don't think you can increase it each day because you are not seeing any problems yet. If after 3 weeks there is no Nitrate and Phosphate or nuisance algae problem, then slightly increase the feeding amount. There is no limit to how much your corals can eat; the limit is how much Inorganic Nitrate and Inorganic Phosphate filtering you have. If you are designing a system to have a continuous feeder, and a scrubber, then the bigger the scrubber the more you can feed. I'm currently feeding 4.0 ml/day total, for 100 gal. This of course does not include the fish food (about 8 square inches of nori per day), or the eel food (one silverside per week).


03-04-2010, 04:40 PM
I've tried this a few times and I had a problem with things getting clogged. I went thru all of my bags trying this over and over.
I think my blender is just horrible and can't get it down to a small enough size.
Also I noticed i had to water it down a quite a bit before I could have it go thru the tubing. but one thing I'm wondering is if I blend it completely into paste will the fish be able to eat this? It seemed like most of the time they didn't even see it pump out.
I'm just not sure how to go about this now.

04-10-2010, 01:00 PM
I've learned that if you are blending yourself, the pieces don't get small enough for reliable pumping with this pump, because there is a tiny "particle filter" hidden inside the blue tubing device, designed to block large particles. What I did was pull the blue silicone off, and file off the plastic particle filter with a needle file; then put the silicon tubing back on. It worked much better. However I have since switched to the pre-made bottled oysters, and they are extremely finely blended, so there is never a clog.

04-10-2010, 01:00 PM
I've now raised my liquid feeding to 12ml per day. N and P are both "clear". Matter of fact, instead of looking at the Salifert nitrate test from the top (which always looks clear now), I now look at it from the side, and compare it to an identical holder of just plain tank water. A few weeks ago it had a slight pink compared to the tank water (from the side), but today it was just as clear too. It does stay a bit "cloudy", because of the test chemicals, but the important part is that it is "clear" of any pink.

Since 12ml is double the 6ml I was feeding before, many of the coral tentacles have come out, and remain out all day, much farther than they did before.

04-13-2010, 08:58 AM

I read your post and was able to pull bits and pieces of information on how you feed and maintain your tank using the continuous feeder idea. I'm watching ebay now for a good deal and I should have my setup in the next week or so. You have a interesting approach to feeding and I was wondering if you wouldn't mind caughing up your complete recipe on how you feed and maintain your corals, your fish, and your water chemicals. I'm looking to make myself a checklist and want to follow your regimen to the letter.

For your corals, filter feeders, and invertibrates, it looks like you feed them a diet that is exclusively Reef Nutrition Oyster Feast. Is there anything else?

For your fish, you mentioned that you used to feed them Reed's Arctipods but have since switched to keeping your continuous feeder filled with Oyster feast for the corals. I assume that you have stopped adding Reed's Archipods to the feeder but is that a correct assumption? I assume that the fish do not eat the Oyster feast so now you only feed your fish nori. Is that also correct? No pellets? No flakes? Nothing else?

For your water, What regimin do you have going to maintain your calcium, magnesium, Strontium, and water in general? I noticed in one of your pictures that you have a fairly large bottle sitting on the ground to the right of your tank with a tube that feeds up to the tank. Would you mind sharing with us more about that?

Is there anything else you do on a regular basis to keep that awesome tank going?

Thanks in advance for sharing!

04-13-2010, 02:38 PM
The current inputs are:

Bottled blended oysters via/pump, 12 ml/day.
Nori for fish, 8 square inches/day.
1 silverside every two weeks, for the eel.
Pickling lime in the FW topoff, about 1.5 gal/day, for cal and alk; this is the container on the side.
Strontium when I think about it; has no affect that I can see.
Mag when it measures low, which is almost never; has no affect that I can see.

No more arctipods, because of cost. If they were free, I'd feed them, along with rotifers, in a separate feeder.

04-13-2010, 09:55 PM
The more I learn about how you manage your reef tank, the more I'm amazed. I recently spoke to my LFS about making my current "fish only" tank into a full blown reef tank like yours. They told me that I need at least a dozen products from them amounting to hundreds of dollars in ongoing expenses. You have this process simplified, inexpensive, and mostly all natural. Thank you for sharing your secrets - I will be shopping from your list this week!


92 gal corner tank
Santa Monica ATS
7 months into the hobby

04-16-2010, 02:27 PM
I use freeze dried / spray dried phytoplankton. Seems to work fairly well.
It is probably not as good as the nice refrigerated stuff. But seems ok.

Put that in an automatic feeder. (One of the individual dump-bucket types).
They can be set up to drop several times a day.
So you put a tiny bit in each bucket, and you are all set for a week.

Lower quality, but a lot simpler.

04-17-2010, 01:18 AM
if i have 200gal tank and on the bottle of the oster says 1-2 teaspoon per 100gal thats 5-10 ml do i set it twice that amount for my 200gal ?

04-18-2010, 04:50 PM
The directions on the bottle don't mean anything. If we had strong enough filtration (which we never will), your 200 gal tank of corals could eat that entire bottle every day. Yes, one whole bottle every day; that's how much zooplankton they get in the ocean. But since we don't have an ocean of phytoplankton to do the scrubbing like the ocean does, you'll have to slowly increase the feeding amount until your nutrients start to rise. I'm now at 12 ml/day, and my N and P are completely clear on the test (and, I have eel waste rotting in the pvc pipes).

So, to make it simple, you can feed as much as your scrubber can scrub (your scrubber is your limiting factor.) If you had twice the scrubbing power, you could feed twice as much, etc.

01-13-2011, 08:03 PM
Hello Bryan,
I recently purchased a can of shelled oysters, blended a couple of oysters up with 2 cups of rodi water to a fine puree and started adding a tablespoon or so of the mix to the tank each day in the AM and again in the PM. I'm still feeding rod's food (or homemade version of something similiar) daily. After 4 weeks of this new food, I've noticed that a flower pot coral I bought is doing very well. I started the oyster blend when I bought the flower pot so I don't have anything to compare. I can tell you that I don't direct feed this coral at all. My other corals also seem to be doing well. Do you see a problem with trying to automate feeding this oyster mix through a peristilic pump?

Also, would you recommend thE tb aquatics peristilic pump? It is rated for 1.5ml/min. I have a Neptune Apex controller and can easily time this pump to run any number of seconds per whatever interval I wish. At under $90 this pump looks like a good value. http://reefbuilders.com/2009/09/27/smart-reef-saver-dosing-pump-tb-aquatics/


02-08-2011, 04:43 PM
I'm planning to make a DIY continuous feeder and was hoping to get your input on a couple of things to make sure I have a plan that makes sense. Thanks in advance.

Liquid Food - I've seen you reference feeding "blended oysters" more recently in order to save money. Is this simply raw oyster meat and RO water mixed together in a blender? Anything else in the liquid food nowadays?

Other Food - I've seen you reference feeding Nori as a food that is in addition to the blended oyster. Is there any other food in the other category that you are feeding besides silversides for your eel?


02-25-2011, 08:07 AM
Would there by any problem putting the continuous feeder output in the sump right next to the return pump intake? I figure 99% of the food would get sucked in immediately. I don't want to put this type of equipment on the top of the tank.

03-03-2011, 05:41 PM
You can put it anywhere; the food is not alive.

For less cyano, you want to put it right before the scrubber.

03-23-2011, 06:47 PM
What is the internal diameter on the tubing coming out of the bag on the Zevex delivery sets?

03-24-2011, 07:47 PM
Looks to be standard airline tubing, maybe a tab smaller.

But, I don't use the bag anymore... I sealed the bottom of the chiller with silicone, and I just pour the food in. I've been leaving the top off too, with a stirring stick there, and stir it when I think about it. If you mix the right amount of the Sodium Alginate powder with the home-blendid oysters, it will stay mixed and not need stirring for a week or two.

03-26-2011, 11:12 AM
Is there a way to adapt this design to feed fish? Specifically, frozen foods two-three times a day. I have a 30g tank with a falco hawk and a dottyback, but I am interested in keeping seahorses(in a different tank of course).

03-26-2011, 02:49 PM
Certainly... just add some cubes of frozen rotifers, etc. And blend the oysters less, so it will have larger particles.

Actually you might experiment with just adding the Sodium Alginate powder to just the cubes. Too light powder and the food separates; too much and it solidifies.

03-26-2011, 02:59 PM

04-09-2011, 05:49 PM
Don't use the bags anymore... Jeez, I just bid on some on ebay not 5 minutes ago! Doesn't the food freeze without the bag and filter sock?

04-17-2011, 08:11 PM
It could, but it could with the bags too. Keep the top open if it does, and/or keep it near the lights.

11-12-2011, 05:35 AM
santamonica, I have a question...

I noticed in your picture that you have about 2 feet of tubing thats always full of food that stays out of the chiller until the next feeding. do you have a problem with the food in the tube spoiling? or does your peristaltic unit pump this food back to the bag in the chiller by running in reverse? I would like to feed about 1 ml/hr which is about the amount of food that will fit into 6" of 1/4" tubing. If I have 1 foot befor the pump wheel and one foot after it than the cold food leaving the chiller will sit in the tube for 4 feedings or if you set it to 1 ml/hr that would equate to 4 hours befor that food in the tube gets dosed. I would think that food starts to spoil in that time.

How do you prevent the above?

I applogize if this has been asked befor. BTW, just build my algae scrubber and so far so good. thanks in advance for your help!

11-12-2011, 08:48 AM
The food just sits in the tube. Not the best situation, but until someone makes a chilled feeder device, it will have to do. Does not seem to hurt anything, except for adding extra nutrients.

11-12-2011, 10:37 AM
another set of questions...

I noticed that you wrapped your lines due to the above... just curious if have you tested the temp of the food coming out of the feeding tube after it has stayed there? is it room temperature or slightly above?

where can I get Sodium Alginate powder and raw oysters? thanks again

11-13-2011, 01:21 PM
Have not measured it. It has to help, but no idea how much.

Oyster or mussels are at your grocery.

Somewhere in this thread is a link for the powder. Many cooking supply sites will have it.

11-15-2011, 11:46 PM
just purchased the chiller off of ebay... I wasn't as fortunate to find it as cheap as $20, rather $55 but hey at least its not full price and it was hardly ever used. I'm testing it out now. I have a few questions...

you said:
"Fan quietening: The chiller uses a computer fan that runs all the time. On larger tanks the sound is not noticeable, but on smaller or quieter tanks, or tanks in your bedroom, the fan could be made slower/quieter by inserting a resister into the power lead of the fan. The chiller is powerful and freezes as is; less chilling won't hurt anything. You'll have to experiment with the resistor size."

Oh man is this fan annoying... I don't understand why the vinotem runs the fan 24/7 when obviously there is an internal thermostat. when it reaches set temp it stops cooling but fan remains on. and then there is that anoying clicking when cooling comes on/off. First why would they need the fan to run continuously. I've read of peltier and electrostatic cooling. I know the peltier gets hot on the hot side so it would make sence to run the fan on a slight delay once the unit reaches temp. but the dran thing never shuts down. I looked inside and its pretty well insulated and I would think that it can hold temp for at the least an hour or so befor having to turn cooling back on...?

ANYWAY, as per your statement above... I am electronically challenged... lol :) I know what resistors are but wouldn't know what to do with it or where or how to install one... do you know what resistor I could start expieramenting with??? better yet is there any way instead of installing a resistor to SLOW the fan, but rather to have it shut down completly when the unit reaches temp? I thought to ask if you might know. thanks again...

11-16-2011, 05:31 AM
You would need to set-up a relay on the circuit that turns the compressor on and off. A for pin relay is good for this. The relay would engage the fan when the compressor triggers to on. Search the net, there are plenty of wiring illustrations and how-to's on wiring these relays up.

11-16-2011, 09:13 PM
You would need to set-up a relay on the circuit that turns the compressor on and off. A for pin relay is good for this. The relay would engage the fan when the compressor triggers to on. Search the net, there are plenty of wiring illustrations and how-to's on wiring these relays up.

so been doing some digging and figured why not just replace the fan with a more advanced and more quiet fan? found the Noctua NF-B9 92 mm fan. measures the same and it is 12v just like the fan in the chiller. However, the fan that comes with the chiller shows .35a and this fan is .11a so not sure if this will work??? the Noctua also comes with three wires and the fan in the chiller only has a black and a red wire so I'm not too sure what to do with the yellow wire... do I just connect the red and black and leave the yellow disconnected??? will the Noctua fan still work by just connecting the red and black? I'm assuming that you need the yellow wire for something (guessing its for the speed adjustment or resistor???). I'd like to go ahead and purchase this but want to be sure it will work. LMK thanks again

11-17-2011, 05:39 AM
The yellow wire is used to send info back to the bios for the computer, its used to measure fan speed, not needed in your case. The amp rating is just draw, it should work OK for you.

11-17-2011, 10:45 AM
I probably should not give any electrical advice, since you are dealing with 120v.

I just let the fan run all the time.

11-18-2011, 12:10 PM
I probably should not give any electrical advice, since you are dealing with 120v.

I just let the fan run all the time.

but doesn't the transformer step down to 12v??? I'm thinking it has to because the fan runs on only 12v.

11-18-2011, 12:21 PM
Most of those fans do run off of a transformer. Sometimes it says on the label on the fan. Otherwise you might want to take a multimeter to it to be sure.

11-18-2011, 12:25 PM
It it's not an isolation transformer, however, one line could still be tied to the house 120.

11-20-2011, 07:53 PM
ok hooked up a much more quit fan... It works and is rated at 1600 RPM without the provided resistors. I cant imagine that its spining at 1600 RPM's though. tested the unit in the chiller and it does cool down to the 37 degree set point on the chiller so it must be spining and blowing enough air to cool the heat sink.

does anyone know what the RPM rating is on the fan that comes inside the chiller??? Just wondering...

12-05-2011, 05:23 PM
I've got 2 wine chillers, brand spankin new, 1 is still in the box and not opened. $30 each, or both for $50. I also have one of the Zevex pumps that is also new. I purchased the Zevex unit several months back, but just have not had the time to set this stuff up. Been sitting in my fish room for over 6 months. Paid $400 for the Zevex unit, sell for $300.

Plus shipping for all of the above...located in South Orange County if anyone is interested in picking up.

12-10-2011, 12:59 PM
I've got 2 wine chillers, brand spankin new, 1 is still in the box and not opened. $30 each, or both for $50. I also have one of the Zevex pumps that is also new. I purchased the Zevex unit several months back, but just have not had the time to set this stuff up. Been sitting in my fish room for over 6 months. Paid $400 for the Zevex unit, sell for $300.

Plus shipping for all of the above...located in South Orange County if anyone is interested in picking up.

sent you a pm...

why are you selling?

03-26-2014, 07:35 PM
Hello. I am writing in response to your autofeeder. First a bit of background. My wife wants it to be nice, neat, and fit in with the furniture. Therefore she has fallen for the Red Sea Max s400, an all in one unit. Now, with it having to be nice and neat there is no way I can convince her to allow a unit sitting uptop. So i was thinking a VERY small fridge in the cabinet with the Chiller. Basically sump to chiller to a t-PVC piece to the tank returns. The bottom of the T would contain the feeder tube and the Bottom of the T would be drilled into the fridge. The tops of the T would be out of the Fridge and the chiller would flow through the top of the T taking the mix along with it.
I do have a few questions however.

I am worried about the return nozzles getting clogged with the larger particles and this tank will contain fish as well as corals so it will need solid foods. Any take on this concern?

Do you think I will have to worry about water backing up back into the feeder pump tubing with something like this?

My final concern is how will the actual pump unit do located inside the fridge as far as temp is concerned(My reason for it all going in a cooling unit is it will only feed once a day, at least for now, as it will be part of a new tank. Therefore no need to feed as frequently. Also, there is no algae scrubber so I need to be careful with my dosing.)?

You noted you do not use that feeder any longer. Do you use a feeder that would be more cost effective or conducive to what I am looking to do?

03-26-2014, 08:59 PM
I stopped using the feeder because the focus lately has been the scrubbers. Also, I let the food sit in the wine cooler for 6 weeks once, and it went bad and killed two fish who ate a lot of it. The wine cooler did work though, but required some tinkering.

As for nozzles clogging, I would imagine that you would be using very fine particle foods, so they would get through any nozzle. Except maybe the enteral medical pumps like I was using; they have a very small insert in the tubing which must be removed to open it up.

For plumbing for your idea, if the return stopped, it would flood the fridge. You could, however, put the T above the display, so that if the return pump stops, the return spray bars will let air in and stop the flow to the fridge.

03-26-2014, 09:49 PM
Im trying to envision how it would flood the fridge? Your saying if my return that goes from the sump to the chiller to the Tank stops it would flood the fridge? wouldnt the water level just even out like in my last tank and then just stop running.

03-27-2014, 11:13 AM
Probably need a diagram to tell more about it.

03-30-2014, 09:46 PM
What about freezing? My other concern was if the feeder itself would work within a freezer. Does anyone use any other type of feeder either? The pumps seem to be a little difficult to come by at reasonable prices so I was wondering if anyone had another effective method of frozen food delivery?

03-31-2014, 10:57 AM
Well if the food is frozen then it would not pump (flow).

03-31-2014, 04:58 PM
I dont need it to BE frozen. Just close enough to feed for a few weeks without going bad.

03-31-2014, 07:06 PM
If you thinned out the food with water, you could use one of the 1m/min dosing pumps. They are mostly mechanical so they would probably do ok in cold.

04-01-2014, 03:57 AM
If you thinned out the food with water, you could use one of the 1m/min dosing pumps. They are mostly mechanical so they would probably do ok in cold.

From your experience how long will your method last for before I risk food being spoiled? I'm also concerned about the length of tube not in the wine chiller as I won't need to feed hourly as my tank will be brand and not as full as yours for a long while so I'm worried about food spoiling in the tube.

04-01-2014, 06:08 AM
I went 5 weeks once and the bad food killed two fish. They would primarily eat from the tube. But I left the top of the cooler open to the air too.

The exposed tubing is probably not as bad if you use a higher flow, which you will if you water down the food. But if you do the all-in-the-fridge type, it will all be cold. I've seen micro-fridges on ebay.

04-01-2014, 06:12 AM
Do you think with the mini fridge if I kept the temp just above freezing it will last four weeks?

04-01-2014, 11:36 AM

04-03-2014, 03:38 AM
Am I being overly paranoid about my food leftover in the tube going bad if there is only one feeding a day?

04-03-2014, 07:52 AM
Actually more feedings are better, because it sits in the tube less time. Best would be a continuous flow.

04-03-2014, 03:21 PM
There are two reasons I do not want to do the hourly feedings .
One I am starting with only two fish so that seems quite frequent to me.
But the main reason is since I have an all in one system and my wife doesnt want all kind of extras hanging about (Hence the all in one) then I cannot do what you did with the algae scrubber so I will only have the natural means of filtration. Just talking as I think with this one but what about a ball of chaeto in the sump? Would that be a good enough replacement to the algae scrubber for hourly feedings?

04-03-2014, 04:44 PM
Not sure what you mean. An upflow will fit right in.

04-03-2014, 05:35 PM
Not sure what you mean. An upflow will fit right in.

Yeah I actually literally just noticed they make em for tanks now. when i was previously in the hobby they were diy. can u recomend one for a sump?

04-03-2014, 05:47 PM
If you mean to buy, they are at santa-monica.cc

04-06-2014, 09:59 AM
[Does the auto feeder work for both fish and corals? Me getting a new tank hinges on me finding an auto feeder for when on vacation. When using this auto feeder what mix did you feed everything with? I will be feeding a large variety of fish and coral eventually. Instead of the bag I am envisioning just putting a bottle of the food in the chiller and putting the tubing in the bottle while mixing in some shrimp or whatever I need to feed.

I stopped using the bag in the chiller, and just poured the food in the metal compartment after sealing it with silicone.

The size fish you can feed will be based on how big of food particle you can get through the food pump.

04-06-2014, 04:34 PM
I stopped using the bag in the chiller, and just poured the food in the metal compartment after sealing it with silicone.

The size fish you can feed will be based on how big of food particle you can get through the food pump.

What is the largest size food particles u were able to get through? I will have a few well sized fish. A foxface, a Tang and a Flame Angel. Then a few bottom feeders and a pair of clowns. Some inverts eventually and coral of course.

04-06-2014, 05:07 PM
It seems that what you feed could just be fed through a regular dosing pump, which is much cheaper and esier to find than these things. Why did u choose the medical grade pump?

04-06-2014, 05:52 PM
Because I wanted to dose concentrated. If you water it down, any pump will work.