Automatic pond fish feeders are handy devices designed to automatically dispense a predetermined amount of fish food into a pond at certain times. You can set the frequency in which food is dispensed and decide how much is dispensed.
When it comes to pond fish, automatic fish feeders are generally used when the primary fish feeder is going on holidays, has fallen ill, or is otherwise unable to feed the fish. While neighbors and friends could and very well may volunteer to do the job, there is always a chance of them over or underfeeding the fish.
There are different types of automatic pond fish feeders and in this article, we’ll help you decide which one is best for you. We’ll also give you a few great recommendations for fish feeders to try.
The 5 Best Automatic Pond Fish Feeders
1. P7000 Pond Fish Feeder
The P7000 is ideal for large ponds. It can provide fish with pellets or stick-style food, giving users a ton of versatility in terms of what they can feed their fish.
Using the LCD controls, portion sizes can be easily controlled and tailored to suit the needs of your fish. Feeding frequency can also be controlled, with the feeder able to dispense food multiple times a day if necessary. The feeder can also be used manually.
For cleaning, the feeder is easy to open and its plastic lid and parts can be cleaned with soap and water. The lid snaps on and off easily, keeping the food fresh and free of moisture.
It uses basic household batteries that can be purchased at nearly any store and are highly affordable.
Related: Best Pond Vacuum Cleaner
2. Fish Mate P21 Fish Feeder
From Fish Mate, the P21 Fish Feeder has been carefully crafted to feed your fish daily for a period as long as 21 days without intervention. It holds roughly 1.5 cups of food.
The controls such as timing and amount of food can be easily adjusted using the included quartz timer. In addition, the feeder can be used for flake, pellet, and stick type foods, which makes it ideal for all types of fish and their preferences.
Adding to its convenience, it is easy to mount near your pond to suspend it over the water in order to keep it safe from animals. It has been thoroughly waterproofed and can be used all year.
Moreover, the feeder can operate on only one AA battery, which lasts, on average, almost an entire year. When the battery needs to be replaced, it will be indicated on the exterior of the unit.
3. Udgtee LCD Pond Feeder
Boasting both simplicity and practicality, this digital fish feeder is a reliable choice for pond owners. It’s made from durable ABS plastic that can be easily wiped down and sanitized, as they are detachable.
The feeder holds 18 cups of fish food and can be programmed to feed fish for up to 99 days at a time. It can also be programmed to dispense food multiple times a day or just once a day, depending on your preference.
Operating on standard C batteries, the LCD screen shows an indicator when the battery needs to be replaced. In addition, the screen also shows the time in either 24 or 12-hour format.
4. Moultrie 15 Gallon Feeder
With a 15-gallon hopper capacity and a lightweight, this feeder is easy to mount and use for large ponds. It uses a digital timer that can be programmed to dispense feed up to 6 times per day. Going along with this, you can also program how long each feeding session is.
The direction of the feed can be altered, as well, giving you more of a say in where the food drops. In terms of operation, the feeder gets its power from a specialized rechargeable 6V battery. Each battery lasts a few months.
The device comes apart easily, with the motor separating from the rest of the device without the use of any tools. As a result, it is easy to clean and even easier to clear any clogs that may happen.
5. TOPINCN Automatic Fish Feeder
Specifically designed for outdoor use, this unique feeder has a 10-liter capacity and offers tons of convenience. The large feeder capacity enables the device to feed fish without interruption for months.
It has a 120-degree feeding swivel which enables food to be spread around a larger area of your pond. In addition, the entire thing is automatic and features multi-gear control. This allows you to personalize your feeding schedule according to the built-in timer and other settings.
Adding to its charm, the feeder is easy to stock when empty. Its lid snaps on and off, giving you easy access. The plastic lid and basin can be taken off and washed in the dishwasher or by hand.
Automatic Pond Fish Feeder Buying Guide
An automatic fish feeder can change the game when it comes to feeding your fish. It’s important, though, that the auto pond fish feeder you choose is the right size for the pond you have.
If you have a large pond with a lot of fish, it’s ideal to get your hands on a feeder that has a large inner container. It’s a good idea to actively avoid fish feeders with small compartments, as they are not only difficult to fill but also can’t hold very much.
If your aquarium is smaller or has fewer fish, a feeder with a smaller holding tank would probably suit you just fine.This being said, you will still need to refill the holding tank, but probably a lot less often.
The population of fish will play into what size of a feeder you need. While it can be tempting to purchase a feeder with a larger capacity than you need, this is a plan that can backfire. Having a hopper that is too big can mean that your food sours before it ever gets fed to your fish.
As a general rule, you’ll want to find a feeder that is as close to what you need as you can get to avoid wasting food.
Another thing to consider when it comes to size is that fish feeders are very visual elements. They add an extra place for the eye to rest on when admiring your pond, which makes having an overly large device potentially problematic.
Ease of use and instructions
New to pond keeping? Look for a fish feeder with easy to follow instructions. They should be in a language you can understand and use terms that are easy to comprehend. If you’re a visual learner, try looking for a model that has visual instructions.
These can include diagrams, charts, and light technical drawings that showcase the steps and other important information about the feeder.
Ease of use is important, too. If your feeder isn’t easy to use, you’ll likely ditch it for a model that you find more user friendly. When determining the ease of use, pay attention to the refill process and how easy the device is to clean.
Does it come apart for cleaning? Can the parts be washed in the dishwasher? Do you have to take the entire thing apart to refill it?
As a pond enthusiast, you’re probably well aware that you’ll eventually lose your fish. While fish can perish for any number of reasons, you can help ensure that their food source is not one of them by checking your automatic feeder for ventilation.
Proper ventilation helps to keep food fresh and prevent it from spoiling. Some feeders will have a fan, while others will simply have ventilation holes or some other kind of system. Regardless, it’s a good idea to make sure that your chosen feeder can handle moisture.
To put how important this factor is into perspective, imagine that you’re the fish food. You’re put into an automatic feeder and the lid is closed. As the day goes on, it rains. A bit of rain makes its way inside of the feeder and gets trapped. Then, things heat up the next day as the sun rises.
As a result, mold grows. This renders you, like the food, useless and bad for the fish.
Battery status indicator
The whole point of an automatic fish feeder is to feed your fish automatically. To do this, your feeder needs a power source – most likely a battery. But what happens if your battery runs out and you don’t notice? We’ll let you fill in the blanks.
To avoid such an appalling situation, you should look for a feeder that has some sort of battery indicator. The best indicators are those that use LED lights and/or an LCD screen to showcase information.
Some indicators will be simple lights; maybe green or red. While others will show a visual of the battery much as a smartphone does. Others still might tell you what percent of your battery remains in digits instead of pictures.
If you have a hard time reading a certain indicator format, keep that in mind when looking at this spec.
Fish have sensitive digestive systems and plant-eating fish have very small stomachs. Due to this, they should ideally be fed multiple times a day instead of one big meal at a certain time of day. This is what makes it so crucial to purchase an auto koi feeder that has reliable controls.
An accurate control system will be one that dispenses food at its dedicated time, maintains the amount at each feed without intervention, and that is easy to customize.
If your feeder is extra fancy and comes with additional controls, test them out before relying on them – you want to make sure that they do their job before trusting them to care for your fish!
Also in this realm of thinking is the fact that you likely want a system that has basic controls. They shouldn’t be too complicated and you shouldn’t need to use the manual each time you change a setting. That’s way too much work for what it’s worth!
Dials shouldn’t be too finicky; they should be sensitive but not so sensitive that you have to spend 10 minutes trying to get the dial to sit in the right position.
What is a good automatic feeder with poor battery life? A not-so-good feeder!
The battery life of your chosen device determines how long it will run and provide adequate food to your fish without disruption. To avoid your fish missing meals because your feeder’s battery died -again!-, be sure to buy a feeder that has long battery life.
Most batteries are good for a few months, while some can last for closer to a year. You should never assume that your feeder will last that long; instead, you should read the reviews and product information to determine its approximate lifespan.
The majority of automatic fish feeders run on standard household batteries. AA, AAA, and C batteries are the most common types by far. These batteries are affordable and easy to install. They can be purchased for only a few dollars in most cases.
There are several mounting styles that automatic fish feeders can use. Before you even start looking at feeders, it’s a good idea to decide where you want your feeder to go. Knowing this going in can help you narrow down the options.
There are three types of feeders: post mounted, free-standing, and hanging. Each type is mounted differently.
Free-standing feeders can sit on the ground or on a table. They don’t technically need to be “mounted” in the traditional sense. Post mounted feeders are usually mounted to a 4×4 post which is then mounted.
Hanging feeders are usually the smallest of the three types, as their mounting style requires them to be relatively lightweight. They can be hung via plant hangers or even from nearby trees! They are the most diverse when it comes to position, but also a lot smaller.
So, if you know where you’re putting your feeder, you can browse the feeders that have suitable mounting styles for your location. As a result, your shopping trip is more efficient and much quicker.
While it’s hard to determine the build quality of a feeder while it’s tucked away inside its box, it’s still worth a try. The quality of the materials used makes a big difference.
If you can, try to find high-quality materials and airtight mechanics.
Plastic is by far the most common material used for automatic fish feeders, but it is possible to find models made of other materials, too. Quite often these models will combine both plastic and metal elements.
Any plastic feeders should be sturdy and thick – you don’t want thin, flimsy plastic. A plastic that isn’t relatively thick can be prone to warping and damage, while hard plastic maintains its shape much better.
A good quality to look for is water resistance, which is a key factor of build quality. This is, perhaps, the hardest checkbox to tick off when it comes to the quality of a feeder. The inside drum that holds the food should be able to resist moisture and help prevent mold growth.
Most of them won’t be completely watertight but any good product will be water-resistant at least. Water-resistance is often the best one can hope for.
Benefits of Automatic Fish Feeders
Simplifies feeding schedules
One of the biggest benefits of using an automatic fish feeder is that they can help you create and stick to a consistent feeding schedule. With an automatic unit, your biggest worry is simply keeping the hopper full.
You don’t have to worry about running outside to feed your fish multiple times a day, as the feeder will do this for you. Of course, this is only true if the hopper has food in it, though!
If you’re a pond enthusiast who’s prone to forgetfulness or who has a very busy schedule, the use of one of these units can quickly become a must.
Less food waste
It’s not unusual to want to save money in any way possible. One of the easiest ways to save money as a pond owner is by reducing the amount of fish food that gets wasted. What’s the best way to achieve this?
Buying an automatic fish feeder.
Although the price can be steep initially, the money you save on jars of fish food over time really adds up.
Once you program your feeder to dispense a certain amount of food at specific times of day, you can kick back and relax, enjoying the fact that you’re saving money. By giving your fish only what they can eat within a 15 minute period, you reduce the amount of food that sits at the bottom of the pond and turns into sludge.
Improved fish health
Using this kind of feeder can also do wonders for your fish. Aside from keeping their hunger at bay, they can also prevent other health issues such as gaining weight and digestive problems.
It especially helps with the latter of the two, though, as some species of fish will eat regardless of whether they’re actually hungry. This quickly leads to fish who are overweight and sluggish.
Going away? No worries! Literally. While you may have had to hire someone to babysit your fish and prove them with food before, you won’t have to now.
Automatic fish feeders can completely take the place of friends and family. Instead of having someone come over to feed your fish, the feeder will feed them and the fish will know no difference.
Preparing Your Automatic Fish Feeder for Winter
Despite the fact that most of us don’t think about what happens to our automatic fish feeders during the winter, they do tend to need a bit of care before the end of the season. Aside from completely ignoring the feeder, there are a few other options you might want to consider if prolonging your feeder’s life is important to you.
The first option is allowing the feeder to empty naturally during the late half of fall and set the timer to run for 1-2 seconds a day. If you use a solar source of energy, this keeps your battery charged and prevents the internal motors from freezing or sticking together.
If you live in a Northern climate where things get cold and snowy each winter, your pre-snow routine should be a bit different. Since the internal part of the feeder has a fan or other mechanism that moves food down and out of it, this delicate part is prone to freezing.
To avoid that happening, you should remove the battery if you can. You can store it in a cool, dry place where it won’t get wet or cold enough to freeze.
Now we’re going to assume that you decide to allow the feeder to run for a few seconds each day as we suggested. Great! However, there are a few simple steps you might want to take note of.
Firstly, remove the lid and double-check that there are no stray pellets stuck to the interior of the feed chamber. If there were, the moisture that winter causes would cause them to stick together and grow a dusting – or a carpet- of mold.
The resulting clump could easily clog the chute when you try to use the device next spring. Next, run the feeder through a quick cycle to remove any leftover pellets from the chute or fan.
Open the bottom portion of the feeder and gently remove any pellets that have gotten lodged into the bottom compartment during the previous season. You can do this by gently scraping at them.
Once the buildup has been loosened, you can use a hand vacuum to remove the loose particles and debris. Then, give the interior a quick wipe with a damp cloth. Don’t use any soap unless there is mold. If there is, use mild dish detergent but never any harsh cleaning chemicals.
You might also want to consider serving the motor and battery. Apply a special oil that prevents corrosion to the battery and stabilize the lid. Secure it using zap straps, bungee cords, or your preferred method and call it a day.
Auto Pond Fish Feeder Tips & Tricks
It’s been a debate among experts for years. Honestly, it’s not a cut and dry question. Each species of fish has different dietary requirements and each fish owner has his or her own ideas of what’s best.
Most people feed their fish 1-3 times per day. If you feed your fish more than once per day, be careful not to overfeed! Use small portions at each feeding session to avoid giving your fish too much.
When using an automatic fish feeder to cover all the daytime feedings, program the feeder to dispense a small amount.
The best way to feed fish while on vacation is by setting up an automatic fish feeder. Doing so lessens the chance of your fish being forgotten and left without food, and ensures that their regular feeding schedule is followed to a T.
Pond fish, like koi and goldfish, can go a surprisingly long time between feedings. The exact time depends on how old the fish is, how big it is, and what it eats.
In general, carnivorous fish have tendencies to skip a day of meals here or there, as their meals are generally very hearty and filling. Plant-based diets are less filling because plants are harder to digest, resulting in less total food intake. It also makes the fish need to eat more often to have their nutritional needs met.
Large and old fish generally have more of a fat reserve. This means that they can go without food longer, as they can rely on their fat stores if they need them.
Most of the time, though, fish are pretty good at scavenging and finding their own food in the event that you forget to feed them.
No. Some automatic fish feeders are geared for indoor use, while others can be used indoors or outdoors. Some of them are specifically outdoor models, too. These models are more heavy-duty and better suited for use in the elements.
Being what they are – electronic devices extended above water- the lifespans of automatic fish feeders are hard to precisely determine. However, you should always opt for a feeder that has been built with quality materials, as it will likely last longer.
Most fish feeders last 2-3 years at the minimum, with a longer lifespan entirely possible if you maintain them.
It depends where you live, in short. As we said above, areas that get a lot of snow and below-freezing temperatures are recommended to cease automatic feeder use when the cold weather hits.
If you live in an area with mild winters, such as in California, you might be okay to use your fish feeder year-round. This is providing that the outdoor temperatures don’t dip too low, of course.
How much a feeder holds depends on the model. Some hold small amounts, while others can hold pounds of food at any given time.