DIY (Auto) FROZEN FOOD FEEDER

This article is an overview and instructions for building a DIY Auto Frozen Feeder for your Aquarium.

What does it do?

  • It Feeds "Chilled...Always Fresh" Frozen Food to my 4 Fish Tanks Automatically.
  • Programmable "Variable Sized" Portions.
  • Programmable "Any time of day" Feedings.
  • Self Cleaning too!

This feeder was built so I can get away from Home and continue to feed my fish. I have a few Ehiem Pellet Flake Auto Feeders that I use while away. The issue is I have a Copperband Butterfly fish in each of my Tanks that won't eat Flake or Pellet Food (ie. strictly eat Frozen). After building and installing this feeder it works so well, I've set it up as a permanent Daily Feeder which now gives me near total hands off Automation on all my 4 tanks.

The feeder may look like a complex time machine that runs on a flux capacitor made to fit into the trunk of your DeLorean but you don’t have to wait for the future…it’s actually quite simple once you understand the basic concepts and you can make one for yourself.
2020-08-10_FinalFrozenFeedBuild-2-s.jpg

The main component of this feeder is a Koolatron Cooler to keep Frozen Food chilled, and it all runs on a few dosing heads. Water is pumped via tubes to get the food to the tank and ultimately to your fish.

I did NOT make the Koolatron (which is a purchase DC voltage Cooler for your Car). Plenty of models, sizes and prices to choose from.

Here is the one I used that I had spare.

This lower price model might work for a Single Tank Feeder.


I also did NOT make the Magnetic Stirrer.


I did make my doser, but you can buy your own DOSER too. LIke this one if building a Single Tank Feeder.


The rest I made with parts I had kicking around.

Let's move on.....

Feeder-Internal-Components-s.jpg

A closer look inside the Koolatron with cover removed that contains internal Components.
This article will describe my final design and will discuss some other options you can consider when building your own. Details on materials, construction tips and programming are included.


Want to get a quick overview before you read all the details.....



The feeder designed and discussed here was designed to feed my four tanks (as shown below), yet it will work just as well for a single tank or more than four Tanks. It’s determined by the number of dosing heads.


4TankFeederSetup.jpg


In an effort to make this easier to understand, here is a basic diagram showing the final design and components used. The setup and functionality are described below. I will refer to this diagram throughout the article.

FrozenFeeder_Article-Photo-Design-Concept.jpg

Preparation/Overview:
  • Fill the concentrate container (A) with your favorite frozen food (frozen pieces/cubes or rinsed frozen food in small amount of fresh water).
  • Note: the frozen food pieces (after melting) must be smaller than the diameter of the tube you are using to avoid clogging the feeding tubes. You may have to blend your chosen food to ensure the pieces are small enough.
  • Top off container (B) is filled with Pure Water since it will be the liquid to distribute food to your tank.
  • This same container (B) and water is used to automatically clean and flush out the feeding tubes after each feeding.
  • The food from (A) will pumped to the distribution container (C) and then pumped to the tank from there.
  • D3,D4-Dn are simple dosing pumps of your choosing. (# of Pumps depends on # Fish Tanks (F) you wish to set up)

FrozenFeederFoodPrep-1.jpg

Works with Most Frozen Foods (Tested with Mysis, and Brine Shrimp).....Food Can be Rinsed and Strained if desired

FrozenFeederFoodPrep-2.jpg

Careful to not use Large Chunk Frozen (it can Plug the pumps and tubes)


FrozenFeederFoodPrep-3.jpg

Coolers Take Time to Cool things down (So add things cold at the Start)​

Feeding Steps
  • (optional) Mix Frozen Food Concentrate
  • Dosing pump (D1) pumps the frozen concentrate from container (A) and adds it the distribution container (C)
  • Dosing pump (D2) pumps fresh water from container (B) to the distribution container (C), to dilute the concentrate.
  • At this point, dosing pump (D1-Dn) feed each tank tied in to your system.

FeederSteps-OptionalStep0-Mix.jpg

Magnetic Stirrer (Food Concentrate Container)

Optional: I chose to use a magnetic mixer to stir the feeding concentrate prior to each feeding cycle. After testing the feeder I learned that it does make feeding more consistant, but not really necessary if you want to cut on Costs or Space.

DosingTubeFlows.jpg

Dosing Pumps Flows​


Cleaning and Purging Steps
  • Dosing pump (D2) pumps fresh water from (B) to container (C)
  • The feedings pumps (D1-Dn) then pump the fresh water to the tanks to purge the feeding lines




The Full Feed Cycle Illustrated:

FeederSteps.jpg

As you can see in the Running Demo Photos above, the Distribution Container is relatively Clean of food after Final Rinse and Flush.​

NOTE: The final cleaning and purging step is an important element in the design. All the food and tubes within the cooler are chilled. The tubes going to the fish tanks are obviously not. If there is trapped food in the feeding tubes going to the tank(s) it has the potential to spoil in between feedings since they are not temperature controlled. This is true even if the distance between your feeder and tank is very short. Please do not skip the cleaning and purging steps.

Doser Heads and Connections:

Whether you’re working with one tank or multiple, your design will have to accommodate having at least one dosing head (D1) located inside the cooler. Since that dosing head is transferring the concentrate there is no way to flush/purge that line after each use, therefore it needs to stay cooled.

Since my particular auto feeder is feeding multiple tanks, I was unable to fit multiple dosing heads inside the cooler. With some basic electronic wiring skills, you can remove dosing heads form any multi-headed doser and extend the wires. If only designing the auto feeder for one tank, most smaller three-headed dosers will likely fit in your cooler. This is something to keep in mind when designing your system.

In the picture below of my prototype, it illustrates how the doser heads are configured – one internal and the others external to the cooler. The magnetic stirrer, three containers and one dosing head are inside the cooler.

2020-08-06_4TankFeederSetup.jpg

Protoype DIY Frozen Fix Food Feeder


Programming Dosers:

The programming will vary with each setup and it unique to each feeder. So it’s not reasonable to discuss all the options and maintain your interest. But here are a few key factors to consider when doing your programming:
  • The amount of food you wish to feed
  • The concentration of your prepared food
  • Programming can vary on portions/times of feedings (Breakfast, lunch or dinner time)
  • Programming can vary by tank as wel
  • Dilution water you use
  • Distance to tank from auto feeder

Now for some programming Details:
  • [DOSE 1: Concentrate Pump D1] – this is where you simply program how much food you will feed the tank(s).
    • This dosing amounts will depend on Food Portion Size.
  • [DOSE 2: The Dilute WATER PUMP D2]
    • Is just enough Dosing volume to loosen up the contrentrate a tiny bit with water. It' a mini first flush of the distribution container.
  • [DOSE 3: Feed Pump D3, D4,...]
    • Is enough Dosing Volume to COMPLETELY drain the distribution container ( DOSE 1 + DOSE 2)
    • You DON'T have to Dose long enough to get Food to the Tank (The Purge Dose 5 will get food there)
  • [DOSE 4: Flush WATER PUMP D2]
    • In enough Dosing Volume to add some Rinse/Flush Water for Last DOSE 5.
    • This Rinses the Distribution Container. So the amount must be a bit more than ( DOSE 1 + DOSE 2)
  • [DOSE 5: Clean/Purge Program : FEED PUMP AGAIN D3]
    • This Dosing Volume will depend on the distance to your tank. (Roughly = 2x Distance to Tank+DOSE 4)
    • You will be dosing any remaining food, Rinse Water, and a push to purge the dosing lines completly.

NOTE: [The Dose 5] (Clean/Purge/Flush) should be about double the length of the tube (distance to the tank). This ensures the line is not only clear of FOOD & Flush Water, but the tubes are purged and only full of air until the next feeding.

I also learned during testing that you don't need to add that much water (to completely fill the Tube Length) for the flush, since when water runs out the flush will continue with Air, and flush out the ALL the water anyway. (This saves on the size of the Water Container).


Components and Assembly

Let’s discuss what actually makes this thing work so well. In my case, I was able to utilize things I had on hand at the house. I’ll share some photos of the parts and the assembly components.

I’ll start by sharing some photos of the feeder disassembled.

2020-08-11_DissasembledParts.jpg


2020-08-11_DissasembledParts 2.jpg


The Auto Frozen Fish Feeder Disassembled

For the containers that will handle the food (Items A and C in the first diagram), you want to find something that has a funnel shape to it. This will assure the food settles near the bottom of the container which is where the dosing pumps tubes connect. In my case, I used an Iced Tea Bottle, installed upside down. The cap is the perfect size for the magnetic stir impeller. The other added benefit is it is easily replaced if/when the gunk builds up. I love Iced Tea so I don’t mind having another bottle to keep the feeder fresh and clean.

The top off water container (Item B in the first diagram) I used a Kamoer Dosing Container. It’s a large volume container and with its rectangular shape, it fits perfectly in the cooler.

The bottom of the cooler has egg crate that the Electronic Magnetic Stirrer sits on. Having the Stirrer up off the actual bottom of the cooler protects it from any accidental spill or liquid condensation that settles on the bottom. (NOTE: The more you open and peek into the Cooler, warm moist air will get into the cooler, and the more you will get condenstate dripping off the Cold Cooling Fins and containers)

Since we all have some Styrofoam lying around from our last fish or coral order, I discovered it works perfectly for mounting equipment and positioning things correctly and firmly in place. Just cut pieces to fit your varying conditions. Nothing is glued and installed permanently. As long as it fits snuggly it’s not going anywhere and it makes things easier to take apart for the occasional cleaning and/or maintenance.

I used wider diameter and stiffer RO tubing for the dosing line HOLDERS. Just cut some slits in the STIFF RO TUBING mentioned above and use a drop or two of hot glue to hold in place. The softer Air Line tubing will snap in. Try to keep from installing anything permanently as mentioned above. The same stiffer tubing was used to position the floppy tube at the bottom of the Concentrate Container in an effort to keep the tube on the bottom of the container at all times. This is important so it doesn’t get out of position during the stir.

Important to note, if you’re using tubing couplers you may need to enlarge the whole so you don’t end up with food getting lodged in the couplers. In my case, the couplers were too narrow so I drilled them out to enlarge the holes.
2020-08-11_DrilledOutConnectors.jpg

Don’t forget to enlarge the tube couplers if necessary

Here is a quick overview on the OPTIONAL Magenetic Stirrer Setup, if you choose to add one to your design.

  • Basically the Ice Tea Bottle is Inverted to hold the Thick Concentrate.​
  • Top of Bottle is cut open to add the Frozen Food and a small amount of Water.​
  • The Frozen Food will slowly settle to the bottom of the Container, and water will be at the top.​
  • The Magnetic Stir Pellet fits inside the Cap and it spins inside once the Magenetic Stirrer is activated. Mixing up the food and water.​
MageneticStirrerConcentrateMixer.jpg

Magentic Stirrer for the Frozen Concentrate Container Mixing
Now you don't want to just plug in the Stirrer and have it running all the time. You could but it's pointless, and it may grind and over liquify the frozen pieces.
So you need to turn it on every so often, and most importantly a minute before the Feeding Cycle starts. This will ensure the food concentrate is evenly distrubuted and each feeding is consistant. Otherwise your early feeding will be heavier, and the last feeding will be light. It's not perfect but that's the idea.

Since your Doser can't control the Magentic Stirrer, you can use a timer, and the program your stir and feed accordingly.

MagneticStirrerTimers.jpg

Magentic Stirrer Timer Options



Okay, so we have our Auto Feeder set up, it’s time to run the lines to the tank(s). Then you'll have to adjust your Flush program once you finalized the tube lengths to your tank. ( Remember the last program is the purge and is distance dependant )

This is my setup as seen from the Back of the Cooler.

FeederFinalHookup.jpg

Feeding Tube to Dosing Head Distrubution

You need to consider where the feeding output tube is installed in your tank(s). It’s important to make sure the food is either spread throughout the tank or I a feeding ring so the inhabitants can crab it before the overflow does.

I do have a feeding ring on one of my tanks so that’s where the output tube is installed. On another tank which doesn’t have a feeding ring, I placed the output tube right in front of a power head.

FeedingTubeToTankFeedingSpot.jpg

Feeding Tube Output Installtion Options (Above Water Surface or Below Water Surfice)

The other two tanks are too far from the auto feeder and would require a very long tube to reach them on the floor above the sumps. I’m lucky that both sumps are in the basement and close to the feeder. For those two, I simply placed the output tube (under water) next to the return pump inlet . The return pump takes care of the rest.

FeederOutputTOreturnPump.jpg

Feeding Output tube installed at the input of the return pump and the food is pumped to the tank Upstairs.



To close, I thought I’d share a couple ideas I had that I didn’t implement. I figured I’d share them in case a reader decides to build their own Auto Feeder and may be able to incorporate some different ideas. These additional concepts as well as designs other folks come up with can be discussed in the comments.

FeederOtherDesigns-1.jpg

Simple Design (Downside, No Cleaning)

FeederOtherDesigns-2.jpg

Complex DESIGN (Bi-Directional Doser Needed) for Reversing Pump Direction to Return Food to Reservoir.​


That covers off all I wanted to convey on the feeder design.


Summary:

I have been running the feeder for a couple of weeks and it works perfect. The longest I ran it unattended was 5 days while away from home, and it almost ran out of food and water. So I'm working fine tuning the Food Concentrate Concentration, and fine tuning the dilution and flush amounts to last longer.

The feeder airline tubes are perfectly clean with the flushing cycle, even my longest run which is 12 feet to my sump that sends food via the return pump to my upstairs tank.

The ONLY DOWNSIDE I see after running the Frozen Feeder for a while is the Fish have become trained on it, and now the fish love it more than me :) They sense the food is coming and hang around the feeder output spots. They don't freak out as much every time they see me going to the Fridge, or get close to the tank. At least they don't beg so that means I'm not suckered into feeding them too much. The feeder runs regularily few times a day and same small portions.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventure in creating a DIY Frozen Fish Feeder. It was a fun project and I’m sure as time goes on I will make adjustments to it. I would love to see what others have come up with for their own feeders. Feel free to ask questions and share your own projects.
 
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WallyB

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WallyB,
With the Koolatron P75, is the cooling unit on the side and the rest of the cooler is just plastic insolation?
I'm just worried about drilling a side and then puncturing a cooling line.
No worries about the P75. All the Cooling is on the Right side just like mine.

So you can drill at the back (ANYWHERE) like I did.
If you need to for better placement you can drill on left side (ANYWHERE).
Those two sides just have foam insulation between in inner and outter plastic shell.

Even the right side is fairly safe, since there are no real cooling lines like a fridge.
The cooling area is the Metal Plate/Radiator you see inside.
Just stay away from the Fan on the Right side.
It should be pretty clear where you can, and can't drill.
But best be safe, stay away from the Right side.
 

Greatreefer

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What about the stir plate, the one that is pictured in your write up appears to be an off the shelf model on amazon. Did you run into any issues with condensation or ice build up getting on or around the knob or inner workings of the electric motor or did you see that being a problem and create some crazy DIY condensation proof version?
 

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Has anyone ever tried doing this build with a DIY cooler? I saw this video of a man building a fridge using thermoelectric coolers. I thought it would be cool to use these as you could potentially 3D print the enclosure and make it whatever size best fit your tank.

Here is the video

Here are some thermoelectric coolers
 
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What about the stir plate, the one that is pictured in your write up appears to be an off the shelf model on amazon. Did you run into any issues with condensation or ice build up getting on or around the knob or inner workings of the electric motor or did you see that being a problem and create some crazy DIY condensation proof version?

Hey @Greatreefer

No issues with the Stir Plate in any way.
I bought this one.

I actually had some condensation fall on it. I simply wipe it down with paper towel (but I wouldn't want a lot of water).
In my design I did raise the stirrer off the bottom of the cooler, so it never get's water on it (from bottom drip catches)

Ice UP wouldn't be possible since you can't go below Zero Degrees C (Freezing Temp) in your Frozen Feeder or else the lines would also freeze up.

Actually you Inspired me with GREAT IDEA to improve the Longevity of the Stirrer if Moisure is a issue.
You can simply put the whole Stirrer into a ZIP lock bag. WATER PROOF IT. Small elastic around the power cord.
The Magnetic Field will still pass thru the thin plastic bag and make the stirring pill Spin.

I'm actually going to add the Zip Lock Bag, since if I get future drips, it's a non issue.
COOL!! THANKS!!! I never would have thought of the idea without your question.
 

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WallyB
Another question regarding powering the stir plate:
How do you control when the stirplate comes on? Do you have it connected to an electronic timer that turns on at certain intervals if so, what brand/ model are you using?

Secons question, referes to thebdosing pump. I know that you made yours, which is totally awesome BTW.. Anyways, I know through watching other diy frozen feeder builds, not all dosing hoses are the same, and with some, theybsre super tiny and will not allow food to travel through it. On yours, do you know what thr diameter is of yours dosing tubes?
Are they the same diameter as airline hoses or are they different?
 
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WallyB
Another question regarding powering the stir plate:
How do you control when the stirplate comes on? Do you have it connected to an electronic timer that turns on at certain intervals if so, what brand/ model are you using?

Secons question, referes to thebdosing pump. I know that you made yours, which is totally awesome BTW.. Anyways, I know through watching other diy frozen feeder builds, not all dosing hoses are the same, and with some, theybsre super tiny and will not allow food to travel through it. On yours, do you know what thr diameter is of yours dosing tubes?
Are they the same diameter as airline hoses or are they different?
Hey @Greatreefer, you're on a roll with good observations and questions.

First let me address the Tubing. Yes, It is important to get the biggest (INNER DIAMETER) tubing, since that determines the size of food that can pass thru.
This is the one I use.

Again, I stress. Inner diameter is most imporant since that is basically the size of the HOLE.

And as I mentioned in my Thread, the tubing matters, so does the Coupler to join tubes (like I drilled out), and then Lastly the Tubing in the Dosing Head.

SOme brands like Kamoer Heads allow you to change the tubing in the head. To a certain range.

As far as turning ON/OFF the Stirrer, it's pretty simple. You don't have to be 100% accurate, so long as you stirr within a minute before you extract food (SO you don't need a accurate SECOND TIMER).

You can even use any timer you have kicking around. Maybe one for Christmas Lights.

I actually use these WIFI outlet timers. They are reliable if you get the one on the SMART HOME APP.
I tried so many APPS and some are Junk. SMART HOME is very reliable.

They give you down to the Minute sheduling.

These work and I used them for many things. Even move some stuff off my pex.


I also use these DOUBLE Wifi Outlets.
These do the same for House 110Volt type control.
These also have a USB type 5Volt Port, so you can turn off things that are USB powered.
 

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WallyB,
Stir plate power:
That makes sense about using simple light timers. However, what I would like to do, is to use my APEX to control the stir plate turning on and off that way I don't have to worry about resetting the timer when it comes to daylight savings time.
Do you or anyone here know of a way to create a "on/off" switch using apex coding to control when the stir plate goes on and off?

More about dosing pumps:

I would like to attempt to use an off the shelf model like the kamoer or GHL dosers however, i'm concerned about the inner diameters of the hoses. Which leads me to the final hurdle, custom dosers.
This is the part where I'm still struggling and may need you to explain a bit more about what pumps you chose and how you connected them to your custom built Ardiuno doser. ( which is totally cool) and would LOVE to try and replicate yours however, my programming/ coding skills are lacking.
I've been watching the video put out by DBR_Reef ( video here) Build thread is here: ( if your curious)

and I feel like he used bigger dosing pumps than what are in stock dosers.
in his build he used 12v high flow peristaltic pumps something like this:
but, again, not really sure about how to connect all the dots on this part of the project.


thanks again for taking the time to talk to me about your DIY project.
 
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WallyB,
Stir plate power:
That makes sense about using simple light timers. However, what I would like to do, is to use my APEX to control the stir plate turning on and off that way I don't have to worry about resetting the timer when it comes to daylight savings time.
Do you or anyone here know of a way to create a "on/off" switch using apex coding to control when the stir plate goes on and off?
One Question at a time. APEX PROGRAMMING for an OUTLET (with Stir Pump plugged into EB Outlet)

Fallback OFF
Set OFF
If Time 13:00 to 13:01 Then ON


Above will turn on your Stirr Pump at 1:00pm, and turn off a 1:01pm.
Basically the DEFAULT IS OFF (and when 13:00 hrs hits, it goes on, till 13:01)
 
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WallyB,


More about dosing pumps:

I would like to attempt to use an off the shelf model like the kamoer or GHL dosers however, i'm concerned about the inner diameters of the hoses. Which leads me to the final hurdle, custom dosers.
This is the part where I'm still struggling and may need you to explain a bit more about what pumps you chose and how you connected them to your custom built Ardiuno doser. ( which is totally cool) and would LOVE to try and replicate yours however, my programming/ coding skills are lacking.
I've been watching the video put out by DBR_Reef ( video here) Build thread is here: ( if your curious)

and I feel like he used bigger dosing pumps than what are in stock dosers.
in his build he used 12v high flow peristaltic pumps something like this:
but, again, not really sure about how to connect all the dots on this part of the project.


thanks again for taking the time to talk to me about your DIY project.

I used these Dosing Pumps for my DIY Doser. KAMOER (just the Pumps)
You could do the same or you can modyfiy an existing doser and change the pump if Voltage is the same..

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2021419398.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dqW2vVR

LOOK AT THE CODES that vary things Like VOTAGE DE (6Volt), DH(12 Volt), which in turn changes the Speed. of the Pump

LOOK IN THE DETAILS of the web Site. S04, S06, S10.....
That is the Inside Diamter of the TUBE inside the Dosing Pump.

I picked the biggest One S10. ID=3.0 (inside Diameter) OD=5.0 (outside Diameter.

You also have a choice of two materials. Silicone, or BPT. Both will work for Marine, and Food. BPT is onmly for things like High Heat, or acids.

S10 size works for any Frozen I've used, like Mysis, Brine Shrimp, (Any Kind, but I use HAKARI Brand of Frozen )
It won't handle super chunk of Food like LRS Reef Frenzy, since it does have the odd piece of Chunks. You could remove those chunk, but I just don't bother using it.

That is the Kamoer Official Web site, on Aliexepress. You can actually buy just the pump. Dosers, and even replacement tubing if you want to change sizes.


NOW IF YOU WANT A PUMP to Feed your fish LIVE FISH :) (Just Kidding but its a Power Pump, made for irrigation)

I bought these when on sale for like $29.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32891887138.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dqW2vVR

I used them for my DIY water Changer. It changes all 3 of my Tanks Water.

STAY AWAY FROM STEPPER MOTOR PUMPs. They are good for percision stuff. MOre difficult to control.
They cost way too much. You also need a special controller to make them turn (but you can buy those too)
Any Basic DC pump, you can just put on a Timer to turn on and off with a Proper Voltage AC/DC adapter hooked up.

If you want any kind of PUMP you can think of. This is the Kamoer Link on Aliexpress. (PARTS TOO)
https://kamoerfluid.aliexpress.com/store/500411?spm=a2g0o.detail.1000002.2.58947481ZymqKV

Better Prices, from China. But Wait for Sales.
THere is one coming up, in November 11th (11.11 is the Biggest Sale of the year)
Also Black Friday, Christmas, etc
Sometimes the pump are big discounts like 40% or 50% off (that's when I buy them).
 
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One Question at a time. APEX PROGRAMMING for an OUTLET (with Stir Pump plugged into EB Outlet)

Fallback OFF
Set OFF
If Time 13:00 to 13:01 Then ON


Above will turn on your Stirr Pump at 1:00pm, and turn off a 1:01pm.
Basically the DEFAULT IS OFF (and when 13:00 hrs hits, it goes on, till 13:01)

Thanks for this.
 

Greatreefer

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Your response:

LOOK AT THE CODES that vary things Like VOTAGE DE (6Volt), DH(12 Volt), which in turn changes the Speed. of the Pump

My question:
So there are codes on the pumps:
DE= 6volts
DH= 12 volts
so, in other words, the higher the voltage the faster the motor spins.
so, a 12volt would spin faster than a 6 volt?


your response:
LOOK IN THE DETAILS of the web Site. S04, S06, S10.....

my question:
These numbers correlate to the ID and OD of the dosing pump tubes?
the S10 “model” is the one that would work for larger food particles.

Your response:
You also have a choice of two materials. Silicone, or BPT. Both will work for Marine, and Food. BPT is onmly for things like High Heat, or acids.


My question:
I always thought that silicone was the way to go because of its flexibility. However, I feel like that it does not degrade over time compared to acrylic. (referencing) airline tubes for air compressors ( fish tanks) so, I would lean towards Silicone due to the stepper motors constantly pushing the hose.
From your example above, I see both 6 and 12 volt motors. However, what I’m curious about is what is the difference between the L and straight type pumps. Are these referring to the outlet nozzles?
L would be like a 90 degree and the straight would be well.. straight up and down like what is pictured below?
however, while scrolling through the site, I do not see any place that allows you to select which pump size you want.





Thought:
so, what your saying is IF I go and by and off the shelf model doser, I can “hot swap” the motors for larger ones if needed. How would I know I'm exceeding the allotted wattage for the unit without it going BOOM or disappearing in a cloud of black electrical smoke?
Below, are the specs for the Kamoer F4 pro. No where in these specs do they list the pump size or speed of the pump.
 
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WallyB

WallyB

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Your response:
LOOK AT THE CODES that vary things Like VOTAGE DE (6Volt), DH(12 Volt), which in turn changes the Speed. of the Pump

My question:
So there are codes on the pumps:
DE= 6volts
DH= 12 volts
so, in other words, the higher the voltage the faster the motor spins.
so, a 12volt would spin faster than a 6 volt?

Not really, voltage is just for whatever Power Supply you have.
They adjust the gears to make the pump run at a normal speed (Motor vs Head spin)
What determines the
"FLOW RATE" is not speed, but the IOD (inside diameter) of the tube. The more wide the tube hole, the more liquid is squished between the rollers so the pump, PUMPS MORE.

Look at the table from the WEB SITE to determine What flow rate you want.
(That will determine best choice for YOU!!!) Not voltage, not material, but FLOW RATE.

(Notice the 6 Volt Pump actually has higher Flow, due to the Gear Ratio. Motor may spin more, but SHAFT turn is more important, and of Course the TUBE).
FlowRateKamoer.jpg

And I would stay away from 3Volt pumps. .It won't be easy to find a 3V DC adapter.
But if you really want 3Volt, you can get a 6, 12, or any Volt 3-35volt and bring it down to 3V volt with a BUCK CONVERTER. But that's more messy wiring.


MORE FLOW ISN't Alway better, since too fast, and you have to run the Pump less than a minute (so a typical by minute timer will always DOSE 1 minute, 2min, 3min, etc etc....)

All it means is if you want to dose 10ml of water. A pump with 45 ml/min will dose 45ml (if you have a 1 minute timer). To dose 10 ml (45ml/10ml is the ratio) so you would have to turn on/off the pump (60sec/ [45/10]= 13 seconds, which you CAN NOT DO if your timer can only do 1 minute intervals)

Now if you pick a 11 ml/min (S04) Speed pump. 1 Minute timer would get you 11ml, which is much closer to 10 ml. Get it?

Of course my DIY doser can turn (ON and OFF) a plain old DC pump in 0.001 seconds, so I can dose 1 drop with any pump. (kind of like a stepper motor pump)



your response:
LOOK IN THE DETAILS of the web Site. S04, S06, S10.....

my question:
These numbers correlate to the ID and OD of the dosing pump tubes?
the S10 “model” is the one that would work for larger food particles.

YES, that's the trade off with a wider tube (bigger particles fit thru the tube). You get a wider tube, but with the S10, and a 1 minute timer, you will have to dose, 80, 90, or 83ml each minute, unless you can get a timer that will stop in seconds. Or you will just have to use a larger container to handle more water.

Your response:
You also have a choice of two materials. Silicone, or BPT. Both will work for Marine, and Food. BPT is onmly for things like High Heat, or acids.


My question:
I always thought that silicone was the way to go because of its flexibility. However, I feel like that it does not degrade over time compared to acrylic. (referencing) airline tubes for air compressors ( fish tanks) so, I would lean towards Silicone due to the stepper motors constantly pushing the hose.
From your example above, I see both 6 and 12 volt motors. However, what I’m curious about is what is the difference between the L and straight type pumps. Are these referring to the outlet nozzles?
L would be like a 90 degree and the straight would be well.. straight up and down like what is pictured below?
however, while scrolling through the site, I do not see any place that allows you to select which pump size you want.


Don't worry about the tubing. Just get the cheapest you can find that is SAFE material.
I'm talking the tubing that you connect to pump, to run to your tank.

The tubing in the Dosing Pump must be silicone or BPT since the rollers really squish the tubing hundreds and thousands of time to pump. (And since silcone is cheaper go for silicone....Just for the dosing tubing, INSIDE the Peristaltic Pump)



Thought:
so, what your saying is IF I go and by and off the shelf model doser, I can “hot swap” the motors for larger ones if needed. How would I know I'm exceeding the allotted wattage for the unit without it going BOOM or disappearing in a cloud of black electrical smoke?
Below, are the specs for the Kamoer F4 pro. No where in these specs do they list the pump size or speed of the pump.

THe F4 Pro is ovekill. But if you have the money. Actually even if you have the money it looks big for a cooler.
It doesn't say speed, but it does say minimal Volume which is all you care about.
  • Minimum Dosing Volume 0.1ml

But for a feeder I would just get something like this.

or better yet a Jebao.


They do 1ml dosing so it would work. Plus tube look fine and you could get wider IOD tubing and replace them (if what comes with them is too narrow). Those Caps come off the heads, and you the replace tubes, and snap cap back in. That's typical with Peristaltic pumps, sincec the motors will hopefully last longer then the Tubes lifetime.

BUT THERE IS SOMETHING THAT IS IMPORTANT for Dosing Pumps (off the shelf). How can you program them to make it work for a Fish Feeder. I've never bought a doser, so I don't know what the limitations are in programming.
It wouldn't work if you have to dose 12 times a day, and same amount for 24 hours (ie feed at night when fish are sleep).
A trick to handle overnight feeding is to put the doser on a timer, so you power it off overnight. But then what happens when it powers up. I don't know since I've never owned any of the comercial dosers.
 
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Thaxxx

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One Question at a time. APEX PROGRAMMING for an OUTLET (with Stir Pump plugged into EB Outlet)

Fallback OFF
Set OFF
If Time 13:00 to 13:01 Then ON


Above will turn on your Stirr Pump at 1:00pm, and turn off a 1:01pm.
Basically the DEFAULT IS OFF (and when 13:00 hrs hits, it goes on, till 13:01)
Just remember, with those example settings it will stay on for 1 minute and 59 seconds.
13:00 to 13:01:59
 
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WallyB

WallyB

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WallyB,
Stir plate power:
That makes sense about using simple light timers. However, what I would like to do, is to use my APEX to control the stir plate turning on and off that way I don't have to worry about resetting the timer when it comes to daylight savings time.
Do you or anyone here know of a way to create a "on/off" switch using apex coding to control when the stir plate goes on and off?

More about dosing pumps:

I would like to attempt to use an off the shelf model like the kamoer or GHL dosers however, i'm concerned about the inner diameters of the hoses. Which leads me to the final hurdle, custom dosers.
This is the part where I'm still struggling and may need you to explain a bit more about what pumps you chose and how you connected them to your custom built Ardiuno doser. ( which is totally cool) and would LOVE to try and replicate yours however, my programming/ coding skills are lacking.
I've been watching the video put out by DBR_Reef ( video here) Build thread is here: ( if your curious)

and I feel like he used bigger dosing pumps than what are in stock dosers.
in his build he used 12v high flow peristaltic pumps something like this:
but, again, not really sure about how to connect all the dots on this part of the project.


thanks again for taking the time to talk to me about your DIY project.
Stay away from the VACUUM pump.

Not sure what it's exactly for. But it is designed REMOVE AIR or LIQUID, since that's what VACUUM to me means.
TOO EXPENSIVE TOO.

WHAT KIND OF FOOD ARE YOU THINKING OF FEEDING?
LIke I said, I feed FROZEN MYSIS and it's not problem. NOT ONCE did my feeder plug.
 

Greatreefer

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WallyB,
Was sifting through eBay and came across this.
Do you think this would work?
 

Amateur Reefer

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I do not know if I was clear with that - but I use my tank water both for filling purposes and rinsing purposes.

Because that I have no chilling capacity - I had to manual load and automatically rinse my bottle before every feeding batch. I have look for individually thermoelectric wine chillers - they exist but it is difficult to to insert a magnetic stirrer into the structure. However - they could work if I use air as stirrer instead. An airline into the bottom and let an air pump inject air in the bottom and stir up the water/food solution before feeding

1600504670888.png

When my wife have stopped laughing (after heard about the idea - it will take a year or two) I probably will give it a try :D

I run a GHL profilux 4 computer and my dosing pumps are integrated in the system (and they can run forward and backwards). I also run DC pumps in all positions. This means that I can incorporate a lower return pump flow when I feed with the dosing pumps.

I check the smell in my bottle - a week after last manual cleaning - no smell of rotten food and no visible signs of bacteria growth in the tubes after 2 months - it will be - I´m sure - but at least not yet

Sincerely Lasse

I've been trying something similar with a wine chiller for a year. It hasn't worked out too well.

I buy the Reef Nutrition liquid food and mix them in a cup to put in the chiller. I then programed my Apex to stir before feeding, feed, and then clear the line after feeding time. That all worked fine.

Where this system failed was the cooling. Either the units did not get cold enough or they broke after months of daily use. These just aren't made to be plugged in 24/7. I am looking for a new solution.

Does the Kooltran cooler really get that cold? The problem with all these thermoelectrics is that it only cools n degrees below room temperature. In the summer months, the room can get as hot as 82 degrees.
 

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