Far from perfect, but arguably the best design on the market, for smaller tanks.
I was going on a 2 week vacation, so some sort of auto-feeder was essential. The problem is, which one The reviews are nearly universally bad, for all of them out there. Drilling into the detailed review shows clogged feeders, feeders dumping too much food, broken mechanisms... EVERY design seems to
have some sort of major issue. But the biggest issues seem to lie with RELIABLY feeding a precise amount of flake food, especially if you only need a SMALL amount (for a small tank). With a any tank, no food is obviously bad. But with a small tank, too much food can be just as bad. Two weeks unattended, dumping too much food, can destroy your tank water quality far worse than going two weeks without food will. (In fact, most fish CAN go two weeks without feeding, although there are exceptions, so do your research!)This design has great promise. Each compartment is individually loaded, in advance, with the EXACT amount of food you want to be delivered per feeding. There are 15 compartments, but one is over the opening at any given time, you have up to 14 feedings. That's 14 days of food, if you only feed once per day. Less, obviously, the more times you feed per day. (7 days worth for 2x per day, etc.) No danger of overfeeding. Any mechanism can risk getting jammed, of course, but this unit does not seem any more prone to it than over auto-feeders on the market, and arguably less likely.As far as imperfections, well, there are many.1) It's bigger than you would expect, although that makes sense once you see how it works, and of course you can't really make a ring like this any smaller without making the compartments too small to be useable. As it is:2) The compartments are small enough that it's a little fiddly to get them loaded, but that's down to individual dexterity. (How big do you want this thing to be, after all See point 1!) Another review suggested using a simple piece of paper while loading it, to help funnel the food into the compartment, which is a great idea.3) The timer mechanism is confusing and a bit bizarre. Using the tiny red pegs to indicate feeding time is weird, and it's disturbingly easy to accidentally knock a peg out of place, which prevents things from working correctly. It works, but it's definitely a bit odd. Ergonomics could definitely be improved, although once you get it, it does work well enough.4) I've read complaints about the mounting methods provided, but anyone with a reasonable amount of ingenuity should be able to work with that they have, or jury rig an alternative. Mine sits perfectly on top of my tank light, and just dumps food to the water below.5) I've read complaints about moisture causing sticking, and while it didn't happen to me (in a problematic sense, at least), I didn't bother connecting an air pump as recommended in the manual, either. Based on reports, that goes a long way to helping reduce moisture within the feeder. I think the people complaining of the issue didn't bother, either, which I consider a user error. Only a few feeder models offer this option, and it's a great idea, so I'm glad this one gives the option.So clearly there are issues, but, IMO, they are all manageable issues, or user issues that aren't really the fault of the unit. And many of the issues would apply to other feeders as well, so pick your poison! For me, the fear of dumping too much food and causing a large nitrate spike was far worse than other concerns, so the ability to pre-measure each meal was key. The competing drum-style designs are simply asking for trouble, IMO. For really large tanks, with tons of fish, where larger portions are being measured out, it's less of an issue, but it's really hard to accurately measure small amounts of flake food with in person with functioning fingers! So it's hardly surprising that cheap drum mechanisms struggle with it.After my vacation, I came back to a nearly empty feeder. Just a few stray flakes here and there that were stuck under the wheel, but not enough to cause a problem. The rest of the food was all properly emptied, on schedule. I did have a friend stop by the house once, during my trip, just to make sure things seemed shipshape, and they were. I also tested the feeder for the two weeks leading up to my vacation to be sure of the operation, and I'm glad I did. Overall, however, I'm pleased to report that it worked splendidly. Next time I'll hook up the air pump to help keep the flake from sticking (even though it wasn't a problem), but I'm going to be a LOT more confident next time I go on vacation. (I'll still test it to be sure, about a month before I go, so I can address any problems with time to correct them if needed.)
May 03, 2020