auto doser for foods

Neuratox

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So, I've been planning on building this for a while and I'm pleased to finally say... "It's Done!"
I tend to stay very busy and its not always possible for me to feed my tank more than once a day and when I can its usually only a few hours apart. Thus, I've been dreaming of an auto doser for food. The biggest hurdle that I faced was that most of the foods that could be dosed in a liquid form would spoil rather quickly... ;)
With anthias on the way I made the commitment to tackle this project. Here, I provide some general detail and links for purchase (no kickbacks or any of that Jazz - I don't even know how to do that) for building an inexpensive refrigerated autodosing system for liquid forms of fish food.

I'm somewhat limited for space and I really prefer to keep things as clean looking as possible. I also don't have a fish room where I can hide things behind a wall (#life goals). I did several hours of searching and found probably one of the smallest minifridges that I could find. I tested it before setting up and while it takes a few hours to reach 4C (~40F which is standard refrigeration temperature) it serves its purpose.
I drilled two holes in the side where it was just plastic shell and slipped in the power cord for the doser and pulled out the output airline. I sealed these with aquarium safe silicone (though I cant imagine that it matters what kind you use here since it won't have contact with the tank or fluids in any way). I made sure to really fill in the gap in order to maintain temp without too much heat entering through the new openings. These were solidly sealed <24 hours later.

I refuse to drill holes into my beautiful Red Sea tank stand so I pulled the output line behind the stand and in through the opening back there. I connected it to a length of ridged airline tubing and placed this in my dosing tube holder that sits directly over my return pump. This was about a 5' length of tubing and I needed to make sure that food didn't sit in it at room temp and spoil...

To make sure that the food didn't go bad in the line I needed a way to clear the output airline after dosing the food. To do this I set up the line (inside the fridge) in such a way that once the food was dosed and entered the main line another pump would pull saltwater from another "reservoir" (a 500mL plastic water bottle) to push the food through the line and keep it clear.

I also found that in time the food would settle (I'm using Can O' Cyclops suspended in salt water). So I used another pump to simply pump air into the "reservoir" holding the food just before the food was pulled by its own pump.

Overall, I'm really happy with the system. I've tested it and its working well so far. I like that its small and out of the way, yet not so large that I can just set it and forget it. I'll still need to tend to this system to replace water and food every few days - keeping me in the loop and catching any problems early on (I hope).

Overall the build was fairly cheap and if you try to build this you may be able to find some ways to cut some costs. I hope this helps/inspires those of you who have been thinking about doing this yourselves. I love being able to give back to the reef community.

Cheers

Links:
Super Mini Fridge (note - This is a tight fit, but holds 2 500ml bottles and the dosing pump)
Doser
Tube Holder
Airline
Tubing Connectors
Can O Cyclops (My fish love this *%#$ - Get some!)

PXL_20210917_010957642.jpg PXL_20210917_010948954.jpg PXL_20210917_010922673.jpg
 
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