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DIY Chilled Automatic Liquid Micro-food feeder


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#1
pj86

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I have a pico that requires multiple feedings (10-12x), due to having non-photosynthetic corals. I searched the web for a setup that was intended for smaller tanks but only found builds requiring mini fridges and peristaltic pumps, as well as stirring machines. I had found a thread created by Santa Monica that used a wine chiller and enteric feeding pump. I used the same concept but improved some aspects, including cost. So the material I used were:

  • Rena Air 400 pump or any smaller pump
  • Wine Chiller (Ebay electronic ice bucket ~25-30 bucks)
  • DIY Pressurized vile or any pressurized small container that will fit in the wine chiller compartment
  • Timer (Best option a controller)
  • Tubing
  • Air valve

Posted Image


The magic is in the pressurized vile. The air hose enters at the bottom of the vile which stirs the contents. I attached a valve there but it isn't necessary. On the cap there is a long tube that picks up the contents and a shorter tube with a valve that regulates the amount of pressure in the vile by increasing or decreasing the exit hole. This controls the speed at which the contents rise to the tank. Once the air pump is stopped the food returns back to the vile due to gravity which keeps the food chilled. Here is a closeup.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Finally any timer can be used but the more precise the timer, the more accurate the dispensing quantity. I use my Apex controller and am able to feed 2 ml of diluted food every hour. Hope this helps anyone out there. Comments and suggestions are always welcomed.

Paul

Edited by pj86, 28 April 2011 - 10:00 PM.


#2
Llamaslayer

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way awesome idea thanks for sharing!

#3
DirtyC

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A video would be cool too

#4
pj86

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Will post one later today.

#5
pj86

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Updates, the airpump seemed to be to large for the tiny vile. Its consistency varied quite a bit. I downgraded to a smaller air pump to see if it dispenses the food at a more consistent rate.

#6
dling

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Thats SWEET. Good luck.
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#7
pj86

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A video would be cool too


Sorry it took longer than expected. I was testing it and now it is 100% working. I use a smaller airpump than the one in the picture which makes each feeding more precise and consistent with the quantity.

Here is the video


#8
AdrianBryce

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could you post an complete list of supplies to make this? what is the cone thing on top of the wine chiller?
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#9
pj86

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could you post an complete list of supplies to make this? what is the cone thing on top of the wine chiller?


I just edited the first post. The cone thing comes with the wine chiller and is used to keep the cold inside.

#10
bigmikey177

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This is badass! I think I might try it out. Thanks for sharing.

#11
cheeto

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Why doesn't the food shoot out of the blue valve?



Edit: I think I figured it out, its used to bleed off some of the pressure from the air pump. I may try to modify this so the food uses 1/4" RODI tubing and see if I can auto feed Rod's.

Edited by cheeto, 01 May 2011 - 06:56 PM.


#12
pj86

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Why doesn't the food shoot out of the blue valve?



Edit: I think I figured it out, its used to bleed off some of the pressure from the air pump. I may try to modify this so the food uses 1/4" RODI tubing and see if I can auto feed Rod's.


Yep, the blue valve is what regulates how much comes out from the other tube. I gotten it down to about +-1ml error, and I would say is dependent on the type and size of the airpump.

#13
koensayr

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Cool. I've been thinking about a away to automatically feed the tank without having food left in the tube to spoil. This is exactly what I need!

Thanks for sharing!

Edit: Could you please a little more detail on the vile, like what type and where did you find yours, and what should we be looking for when we search for one?

Edited by koensayr, 23 September 2011 - 05:42 AM.


#14
thadscottmoore

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I love this setup! Thank you for sharing! :D

#15
pj86

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Cool. I've been thinking about a away to automatically feed the tank without having food left in the tube to spoil. This is exactly what I need!

Thanks for sharing!

Edit: Could you please a little more detail on the vile, like what type and where did you find yours, and what should we be looking for when we search for one?


Any vile that is plastic will work. I had mine from a biology class that I took. I believe you can find them on bioquip.com . I would pick a vile that has a funnel shape at the bottom so that when the air comes in from the bottom it will mix the food well. I'm in the process of making a better video explaining and showing how it works.


I love this setup! Thank you for sharing! :D


Your welcome

#16
thadscottmoore

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Any vile that is plastic will work. I had mine from a biology class that I took. I believe you can find them on bioquip.com . I would pick a vile that has a funnel shape at the bottom so that when the air comes in from the bottom it will mix the food well. I'm in the process of making a better video explaining and showing how it works.

Your welcome


Please show more! I want to build a version of this for my picotope project! just tuned back for the small volume of tank... :D

#17
thadscottmoore

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how many ml is that test vial?

#18
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ok, after some research via google images- I found what the vial appears to be- a 50ml Transport Vial.
After a little more research- I found the maker of this vial and it turns out, made not too far from my home! Lake Charles Lab Mfg is the source- I called them and made an order- min order was 25, so- I will have some spares left over if anyone needs one - just give me a shout and I will make you a deal!
Now to order a Wine chiller or two....
I need more information on how you did the circulation part with the air line going through the bottom of vial.

#19
pj86

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ok, after some research via google images- I found what the vial appears to be- a 50ml Transport Vial.
After a little more research- I found the maker of this vial and it turns out, made not too far from my home! Lake Charles Lab Mfg is the source- I called them and made an order- min order was 25, so- I will have some spares left over if anyone needs one - just give me a shout and I will make you a deal!
Now to order a Wine chiller or two....
I need more information on how you did the circulation part with the air line going through the bottom of vial.


It it is nice to know that you found the maker of the vials. For the bottom of the vial I drilled a hole wide enough for a hard plastic tubing, then used some superglue along with some safe aquarium putty to seal off any gaps. Also at the end of the tubing I used a flame to curve the hard tube to make it less likely for the food to rise up the tubing.

#20
thadscottmoore

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It it is nice to know that you found the maker of the vials. For the bottom of the vial I drilled a hole wide enough for a hard plastic tubing, then used some superglue along with some safe aquarium putty to seal off any gaps. Also at the end of the tubing I used a flame to curve the hard tube to make it less likely for the food to rise up the tubing.


Thanks ! :D

#21
MeepNand

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Can I use a standard light timer for this with a very small air pump?
Sorry for resurrecting an old thread.

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#22
pj86

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Can I use a standard light timer for this with a very small air pump?
Sorry for resurrecting an old thread.


Depending on the setup and what quantity feed. With a pico a timer that measures to a second gives better control, and in my opinion is a must for precision feeding.

#23
pemphigus

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this is so cool. quick question: you said that " The air hose enters at the bottom of the vile which stirs the contents"

at the bottom of this vile is a cone right? so did you drill into the apex of this cone and inserted the tube? also, how does food not fall back into that tube?

#24
pemphigus

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im confused...about how u used a flame to cure the hard tube to make it less likely for the food to rise up to the tubing... can u show that somehow ?

if u used flame to cure the hard tube..how did air pump up into the vile and mix the food?

#25
duoc9119

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To try to get a good sense of how it works...

An air pump pushes air through the bottom cone, that will keep the food moving in the vial. Then theres two more tubes at the top. I am assuming the on with the valve doesn't connect to anything and is there to regulate how much air comes out of the vial (?) and the built up pressure from that valve causes the food in the tube to rise through the other tube (?)

Sounds simple enough. Might have to try it some time.