REEFSICLE Automatic frozen food dispenser...

Does an automatic frozen food dispenser interest you?

  • Yes

    Votes: 457 63.5%
  • Not really

    Votes: 263 36.5%

  • Total voters
    720

Steve Fast

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Cool! What fish do you have?
Butterflies, tangs, shrimp gobies, dwarf angels, some wrasses. When I set it up just before going you work and free when I get home, the feeding frenzy is reduced. I set mine up so that larger quantities are fed close together which presumably means they all get some.
 

andrewkw

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I'm not really excited for a slow defrost option. However if I had an NPS tank I could see this product being very handy. For me an automatic frozen food dispenser needs to have it's own freezer and some sort of way of getting the portioned frozen out of the freezer, mixing it up rapidly or even worst case letting it sit 10-20 minutes then dumping it into the tank. In my head I picture this device to be a little freezer with a little assembly line track that leads up to the top of the tank. Closest real world device would be like how the reef bot takes from different test kits on it's own.

I would expect this device to cost at least 10x more then the one talked about in this thread but for a niche market it would probably do okay. I wouldn't necessarily be first in line to buy it but if I ever stared taking longer trips I'd seriously consider shelling out for something like this, should it ever exist.
 

ca1ore

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love the idea, however the only problem I see is if you have more than a few fish the food will thaw out slow and may only make it to where one or two fish are quicker than the others to get the food.
THIS is the flaw with these devices, and the reason that I have never used any slow-release devices. They SEEM like a good idea, until you actually take the time to think it though. I experimented with one (for pellets not frozen, though the problem is shared) years ago and essentially my most aggressive feeders (mostly the tangs) got 95% of the food. I suppose they could work if you only keep a few aggressive fish, but for a more balanced fish population it’s counterproductive. It is also the reason, BTW, why I pour thawed food directly into my vortech pump so that it is quickly distributed throughout the tank so that everybody gets some.
 

norfolkgarden

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Lol, our solution for everyone getting a portion is to hand feed the most aggressive 1/3 from my fingertips. The middle 1/3 are nearby grabbing the scraps. The last 1/3 get food tossed close to them after the other gluttons are full. :-/
 

GK3

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THIS is the flaw with these devices, and the reason that I have never used any slow-release devices. They SEEM like a good idea, until you actually take the time to think it though. I experimented with one (for pellets not frozen, though the problem is shared) years ago and essentially my most aggressive feeders (mostly the tangs) got 95% of the food. I suppose they could work if you only keep a few aggressive fish, but for a more balanced fish population it’s counterproductive. It is also the reason, BTW, why I pour thawed food directly into my vortech pump so that it is quickly distributed throughout the tank so that everybody gets some.
1) couldn’t you just out this right above a vortech powerhead so that when it drops in it immediately is distributed?

2) if you look at the picture, there are marks for the hour by hour and what parts gets distributed when. So in theory you could have hours 1/4/8 with all the food. So if it’s feeding an entire cube over the course of an hour, plus dropping right into a power head, I’d think that would go a long way to dealing with aggressive fish.

I also picked one up at RAP but I am using if for seahorses.
 

ca1ore

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In my case it would need to be capable of dropping three cubes worth of food at a time .... and not over the course of an hour. Since I can just do this myself, I see no benefit to attempting to automate it.
 

vetteguy53081

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Not quite sold although a great idea. Would like to see/hear some usage feedback
 

MnFish1

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It looks quite large? Hard to tell from the pictures. I try to feed 2x day - so that each fish gets 'something' - Analogy - take a tank with 5 hypothetical fish - and each required 2 pellets of food a day. if I fed 1 pellet every 1 hour one fish may get most of the food. If I feed 10 pellets at once - its more likely that everyone gets something.
 

DLHDesign

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TL;DR - I find it very helpful, but it has drawbacks. I'm happy with my purchase and would buy it again.

This thing is a HUGE benefit for the vacationing reefer. Unless you are lucky enough to have a reef-savy house sitter (oh you lucky person, you, if so!), then you have the choice of either dropping the frozen food out of the tank's feeding schedule, or drastically complicating the things your reef-keeper has to do. In my case, I have my parents come over and feed the tank once a day while we are away. My tank is set up to auto-feed pellets twice a day, which is likely enough to keep everyone on a minimum diet, but I like to keep everyone eating frozen as well. Before I had this, I had instructions on how to thaw and enrich the frozen food with Selcon, adding in some nori pellets so that the herbivores also got some vitamin goodness. For me, who did it every day, it's not a hard process. But for my mom, it was confusing and error prone. She didn't know to break up the larger chunks of frozen bits into smaller ones, for example. I wrote in my instructions to pour it into a "high flow area", but she had a hard time remembering where that was. I don't blame her - this isn't her hobby, after all. And I didn't want to correct her on anything that wasn't serious, because - let's face it - showing up and putting food in the tank was enough of an ask...
That was on the old tank. With the new one, I told her to just put the popsicle (which I pre-make, un-mold, and store in a ziplock) in the ice cup, then put the whole thing in the tray. The first time she took care of the tank, she texted me asking if there was anything else she needed to do - that was too easy and would the fish really be okay? I knew I had a winner. I've since bought a second cup so that there's always one frozen and ready to go, as well as another 10 or so of the sticks, so that I can make up a little more than 2wks of food at a time (the longest we would ever vacation).

I thought that I would use this myself as well. And I suspect that I will, eventually. But I still have a pack of LRS Frenzy to get through, and I found that slicing it into slivers that will fit into the mold, and then filling each section up with the additives and water was a bit more of a pain than my morning ritual of food thawing. Once the LRS runs out (soon) and I start chopping and mixing my own food, I plan to switch to using the feeder full-time.

In regards to the concern about aggressive fish getting all the food - this is certainly possible, but I don't think is enough of a deterrent to not use the device. I have my feeder located above the tank (an enclosed hood hides it) directly under the flow of a gyre and return nozzle - in a high flow area, in other words. I have to be honest; I don't have many fish in the tank at this point. But I do have a blue-streak wrasse that is a pig, and a filefish that is very much not. On the days where I have used the feeder, I have observed both fish getting ahold of frozen food. The wrasse doesn't hang out all the time under the feeder; perhaps because there is not a constant flow of food - it drips in randomly throughout the day. Or perhaps because of the auto-fed pellets; which are dropped into the sump above the return pumps, so get scattered pretty far and wide when they hit the DT. I don't really expect to see any kind of camping under the feeder location, in other words. If I do, I'd likely pick up a second feeder setup (tray and two cups should be all I need) so that it's really not an issue.

I wouldn't call this an "automatic frozen food feeder", really. More like a "time-delayed frozen food feeder". I've imagined what it would take to make this something that could not only dispense, but also maintain frozen food indefinitely and I don't think this device is any indication of movement towards that system. Unfortunately.
 

BryanD

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This thing is awesome, I bought one a couple months ago because I wanted a way to feed a gorgonian during the day while I was at work. I thaw out a cube of frozen food per stick, usually 4 types of cube at a time, and I mix them up when making the feeding sticks. I don't use near as much as in the pics above but I only have 5 fish. Then I make up some gorgonian (coral) feeding solution using RO water, using a mix of Ocean Nutrition baby brine shrimp, Golden Pearls, Super egg brew, Coral sprint, Reef Roids, etc, etc. I pour over the thawed frozen food to make the sticks. Then in the morning I mount it in the corner of my tank where the gorgonian resides and the wave makers will push the food toward it as it thaws and falls into the tank. The fish love it too, I have an old Android phone set up as a camera, when I check on the tank they are hanging out below the feeder. I'm gone 10 hours a day during the week including commute, this lets me feed my fish in the middle of the day as well as feed the gorgonian and other corals. No moving parts, nothing to clog, easy to use. One of the best new pieces of equipment for this hobby that I've purchased in a long time.
 

BryanD

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It looks quite large? Hard to tell from the pictures. I try to feed 2x day - so that each fish gets 'something' - Analogy - take a tank with 5 hypothetical fish - and each required 2 pellets of food a day. if I fed 1 pellet every 1 hour one fish may get most of the food. If I feed 10 pellets at once - its more likely that everyone gets something.
Its not to big, the frozen container part is about the size of a can of beer, maybe just a touch larger.
 

Bmwm235i

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My 8 Bulb T5 system would melt that Popsicle in less than an hour lol. I made some thing similar a few years back out of acrylic for a smaller tank i had. It was in the shape of a 4 sided funnel. I would drop 2 cubes in the top part and it would melt within 1.5 hours with LEDs. It helped when i had to be out of the hours an hour before the fish were up.
 

Jase4224

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Definitely a great idea for an NPS tank, plankton, QT or shy feeders. For a full blown tank full of fish than probably not but a bit of imagination gives plenty of useful applications.
 

Matt Carden

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To be honest, I can’t really see the need for this as it stands at the moment. Yes it might be helpful for feeding frozen food to some fish like maybe anthias, but mine will eat dry pellets from an auto feeder like Apex. This gets filled about once every 6 weeks so fully covers any holiday periods and will do multiple feedings if needed.

If they can add a mini freezer to keep it frozen for a few weeks, then they would be onto a winner, and I would buy one straight away, but my initial thoughts are it’s just another gadget.

Just my personal thoughts but I’m interested in what everyone else thinks.
I was thinking this same thing about having a mini freezer that would be able to dispense frozen cubes directly into tank for say 2 weeks.
 
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