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I've been doing a lot of research on autodosers for the past few months, and in that time I had bought one of my own. I'm not sure if mine is defective or if I've just had bad luck with parts (and replacement parts), so I also researched other kinds of autodosers I could look into as a backup. What I found is that there are bad reviews with all of the autodosers I've checked out, from the cheap to the expensive.

I've heard several comments during this time about how autodosers meant for aquariums are cheaply done and unreliable (ie. pieces of [email protected]!^).

I had read that originally someone had gotten the idea for autodosing their ferts for their tank from medical dosing pumps and it's had me thinking--does anyone use medical equipment for their autodosers? I would think a good one would be more reliable for a patient than one made for someone's aquarium. If so, does anyone have any recommendations for what they use? I just want to get the right amount of ferts in my tank, not too little or too much (and in some reviewer's cases, the whole kit and caboodle of solution, wrecking their tank).
 

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You should ask @ FischAutoTechGarten. They seem like the type of hobbiest that would have a good autodoser. Check out their journal if you haven't already been there. It's incredible.

I just saw a picture last week of an Erlenmeyer Flask on a magnetic stirrer with a stopper with tubes coming out of it going to a doser. I don't know if it was a medical doser but the Erlenmeyer Flask and the stirrer make me think that it was.

This might be one of those pieces of equipment you have to throw a lot of money at to get a good one. Like a good scale for example. There are DIY dosers. But one DIY Youtuber admits that his doser leaks.

I think you might be on to something with this idea. Hope it's not too expensive.
 
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Although pumps designed for medical equipment have advanced quite a bit in the last twenty years, the old mainstay was, and I believe is still used often, a peristaltic pump. These are quite simple pumps (inexpensive), but deliver good reliability in dosing. It is these type of pumps that are used in the autodosing pumps for our hobby, at least the one’s I’ve seen. Of course, the medical equipment is going to be far more reliable, accurate and expensive, plus they are calibrated and maintained by medical technicians constantly.

I use the basic Jebao 4-pump autodoser. This has four peristaltic pumps. I, too, was concerned about the negative reviews (although dwarfed by the positive reviews), but the pump is pretty inexpensive for what you get, as opposed to the supposedly better brands of pumps at much higher prices. I’ve had mine running twice, daily, for over a year with no changes in dosing precision. Some people report that precision can drift. Mine (I use two of the pumps) has not drifted. You can easily verify precision by collecting a sample, as it’s being dosed, and measure the quantity, which I do a couple times a year. The clock can drift a few minutes a year, but so does the clock in my car and I spent a lot more than $60 for my car (why can’t they put a decent clock in a car?).

The biggest concern would be a runaway pump, where it emptied the entire contents into your tank at once, but I don’t recall seeing that type of failure in the Jebao reviews. So far, I’ve been lucky with mine and, it seems, that most users of this inexpensive brand are lucky, as well.
 
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I use a Jebao 3-pump autodoser but only use one of the pumps. I bought a large 5L dedicated to purpose reservoir, some latex tubing, and a one-way valve with a "U" shaped stainless connector to reach into the tank. They also make reservoirs with multiple compartments if you need separate mixtures going at different times. My pump is below the tank, as is the reservoir. I occasionally get a few small bubbles but noting like 3 inches of air.

It sounds to me as if your pump is pulling faster than your reservoir and input tubing can provide fluid so your tubing is pulling in air in spite of your best efforts. If you have the same issue with any of the other pump heads then I do not think that the pump is the problem. If you do not have a one-way valve on your tank input and the tank input is above water you could have siphoning but then you would have a LOT of air in your lines.

Sorry if this has already been covered in your other thread.
 

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The DIY option is probably impractical regarding dosing pumps. I've developed a DIY system that worked quite well but, by the time your all in, you've created a plumbing mess and, in my case, spent as much money as a cheap Jebao costs. In the case of the referenced DIY, you're probably looking at about $300 all in. Spending the same amount on a cheap Jebao means that you would breakeven after you bought five Jebao's, if they were to break down.
 

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I did develop my own AutoDoser. I used dosing pumps (motor/cartridge/onboardelectronics) from Atlas-Scientific. I use NodeRED for Scheduling and Commanding the Dose (also have a good calibration routine, but I've never had to do it becuase they were so accurate out of the box). THe nice thing about my solution is NodeRED follows a Schedule.. and a Set Time Sends a Command to Pump with a desired quantity. From that point on it is the onboard electronics in the Atlas-Scientific EZO Pump that does the precise dosing control..... So that means my DIY solution isn't going to run away.... It require the Atlas-Sci EZO Pump to malfunction to cause a runaway condition.... So, I don't feel my DIY solution is any riskier than an off the shelf solution. I just like the flexibility of scheduling pumping times and dosing quantities from within my own Aquarium Controller. I did splurge on a nice 3 chamber dosing container (each chamber is 2L), but I'd have to come up with something even if I was buying an off the shelf dosing pump.

I don't think my DIY solution is cheaper.... I have about $325 in the 3 pumps and resevoir and cables. I already have the RaspberryPi purchased ($50) so I'm not including that in the cost as I am doing level control, temp control, pH control and turning on and off allot of devices on a schedule (wave pumps, uv filter, valves/pumps for water changes, etc...). Anyway, I'm not saving money. But I feel confident I've deployed some decent pumps. I also had the screws and lexan available.... so yeah.. You will need to mount those pumps on something...

If you want to go the DIY route... you'll need at least a RaspberryPiZero-W, but I'd recommend you splurge for the RaspberryPi4B 4GB model, Atlas-Sci EZO-PMPs, Atlas-Sci Sensor Bridge, spare Atlas-Sci EZO-PMP Cable (this is in addition to the cables each PMP will use... I find it's a good way to make the home run from the PMPs to the RPi.). I can share the NodeRED code with you for reading pump status, scheduling doses, commanding the pumps to dose, cancelling a dose, and calibrating the pumps. You'll have to read the Atlas-Scientific DataSheets for changing the i2c address and device name for each of the individual PMPs you use.... My NodeRED code assumes you've already configured that... Of course, too you will need a PC, Laptop, CellPhone, Tablet or something to remotely connect to NodeRED on the RPi and see the Dashboard in a browser on your own device.

Hope that helps. Hopefully, it's convinced you to just follow Deanna's advice and just purchase the inexpensive Jeboas!! LOL

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I use a Neptune DOS dosing pump. It uses medical grade pumps and is very accurate. The downside, you have to have a Neptune controller and the Pump is $300 for two heads.


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