Autodosing on the cheap
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Old 01-15-2006, 01:50 PM   #1
stcyrwm
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Autodosing on the cheap


I'm going to do start an experiment with auto dosing this week. I'm going to use the Fish Mate automatic fish feeder:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...?N=2004+112973

to dose my macros dry and an Eheim Liquidoser to dose my Excel and Tropica Master Grow trace fertilizer. It seems like the cheapest, simplest way for me to set up automated dosing. $55 for the liquidoser and $30 for the Fish Mate. Any feedback appreciated and I'll update with how it goes.

Bill
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Old 01-15-2006, 02:36 PM   #2
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Bill - just how little can the Fish Mate dose? And how accurately? Do you know, or are you buying one to find out for us?

Would be cool if it works!
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Old 01-15-2006, 02:54 PM   #3
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I just ordered it last night but because it has separate compartments I'm assuming I can dose specific amounts the size I want. I'll let you know how it works. If this one doesn't work I am going to try the Rondomatic unit which looks like it may be better quality. I have been thinking about this ever since I got some cheapo autofeeder units last month but those units dose by scooping out of a bin so it seems they would be fairly hard to specify precise dosing. These units are more like pillboxs dumping a specific dose - at least theoretically.

I'll keep you posted,
Bill

PS
If anyone has suggestions for other auto feeders that might work for this please let me know. I'm doing this largely out of curiousity so I may experiment with different units.
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Old 01-15-2006, 03:57 PM   #4
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The only potential problem I can see is your "dry dosing" turning to "mush dosing" as the dry ferts pick up humidity out of the air around your aquarium. That would probably be more of a problem inside of an enclosed canopy though. Also, I am not sure how hydrosorbent ferts are. Just something to keep an eye out for.
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Old 01-15-2006, 03:58 PM   #5
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I think it will work fine. I've always thought of doing it, but never felt like forking over the cash to buy one. One thought though, put it near a strong current in the tank so the powder (I'm assuming you are using it to dry dose) has the best chance of dissolving fast. If you have a powerhear, or spraybar, that would be best. If you just have a powerfilter, as close to that as you can get it would be best.
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Old 01-15-2006, 07:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
The only potential problem I can see is your "dry dosing" turning to "mush dosing"
The longer it sits in there the more likely this will be a problem - one of the reasons I'm trying one of the smaller units first. I'll just have to wait and see. The unit does have an air inlet for an air pump to ventilate it but I can't quite see myself going this route.

Quote:
put it near a strong current in the tank so the powder (I'm assuming you are using it to dry dose) has the best chance of dissolving fast
I'll put it right by the outlet of my filter which has a very strong current so that should cover this.

Thanks for the feedback. My biggest concern at this point is that it seems so simple yet noone seems to have done it. I'm always suspicious when something seems to easy - time will tell.

Bill
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Old 01-23-2006, 11:07 PM   #7
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Default 1st round failure

Got the Fish Mate auto feeder and it won't do the job. The compartments are bottomless and will drag food around until it gets to the opening but the dry ferts get left behind. Oh well............

The Eheim Liquidoser on the other hand is a champ. I'm going to buy a couple more for dosing Excel and traces in my other aquariums.

I'll let you know if I try any other auto feeders.

Bill
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Old 01-24-2006, 01:46 PM   #8
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Thanks for the post mortum - had considered it myself.
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Old 01-25-2006, 09:08 PM   #9
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Default Round 2 Promising Test Run

Okay, I called Dr Fosters & Smith to see if either of their other "compartment" auto feeders would work for what I wanted and I got someone who talked to tech assistance and said they wouldn't. So what did I do, I ordered one anyway, go figure.

I moved up in expense to the $39 Lifegard Automatic Fish Feeder by Pentair Aquatics. It's a plug in unit which said it could dispense dry medicine, sounds good to me. Got the unit today and 1st impression was positive. On this one the compartment container is held down with a screw in spring. I did a dry run and it seems to work. On the negative side the mounting hardware is junk but I managed to get it on the tank anyway. I've got it loaded up and I'll let you know how it functions in actual operation.

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Old 01-25-2006, 09:57 PM   #10
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I was thinking the same thing a couple of days ago... Let us know how this works in real live.

So this thing has 15 little compartments that you pre-fill, right?

Only issues I can see are fertilizers getting moist and clogging up the free flow, difficulties in integrating it into a hood, and the price.

For around $20, I set up a powerhead to inject a premixed solution, driven by an electronic timer. Only drawback so far is that the solutions deteriorate somewhat over the course of two to four weeks.

It's amazing how many different ways to dose fertilizers can be found...
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Old 01-26-2006, 12:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
I was thinking the same thing a couple of days ago... Let us know how this works in real live.

So this thing has 15 little compartments that you pre-fill, right?
Hey Wasserpest,

It is your thread that got me obsessing on this thing in the first place .

It has 14 compartments so 2 weeks worth is covered.

It did it's first dose tonight and did what it was supposed to. So far so good.

Bill
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Old 02-18-2006, 05:17 PM   #12
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Default Conclusion of dry auto dosing experiment

The Lifegard Auto Feeder is a champ for this application. It holds up to two weeks of dry ferts and doses very specific quantities in each compartment. It has worked very well now for over a month. I had no problems wirh ferts getting mushy or clumping. I use it in conjunction with an Eheim Liquidoser for Excel and Tropica Master Grow. Theoretically it should work alone with a dry trace like CSM but I haven't tried this and don't know well this would dose dry. Anyway for me it seems to me like the simplest least expensive way to do auto dosing.

Bill

PS
I also tried the Rondomatic Auto feeder and it didn't work at all for this application.
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Old 02-18-2006, 05:45 PM   #13
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Thanks for the heads-up, I was looking forward to this conclusion.

This dosing setup, in connection with a Liquidoser, might well be the best way to auto-dose our tanks. If you connect it to a timer you could get more than 2 weeks out of one round.

Me... I still like the powerhead method for being cheaper, and easier to implement into the existing hood.
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Old 04-08-2006, 01:09 PM   #14
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Stcyrwm - just out of curiosity...why didn't the Rondomatic work? Seems like it would, and for a longer period of time. Has 28 compartments as opposed to 14?
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Old 04-08-2006, 02:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuRje1976
Stcyrwm - just out of curiosity...why didn't the Rondomatic work? Seems like it would, and for a longer period of time. Has 28 compartments as opposed to 14?
Yes, I was hoping the same thing. The compartments in the Rondomatic actually drop to empty their contents. It's a neat idea really except it doesn't drop all it's contents. Even with food some would always be left in the compartment and with dry ferts it left enough behind that it was the least useful of all the designs. Oh well, maybe if you altered the compartments a little it could be made to work but I didn't mess with it.
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