A good fish feeder should be reliable, easy to operate and suitable for use with different kinds of fish food.
Automatic fish feeders are an easier and more convenient alternative to manually feeding your fish. You don’t have to worry you’ll forget to feed your fish in the morning or that they’ll starve when you have a late day at work.
A fish feeder is also handy when you go on vacation or a business trip for several days. Just fill the tank with enough feed and set a feeding schedule.
In this buying guide, we recommend the best fish feeders on the UK market, and give you tips or choosing the right one for your aquarium.
If you want a quick summary, here it is:
Best Fish Feeders (UK Market)
Our Top Pick
|Eheim Automatic Battery Fish Feeding Unit
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For Large Tanks
|JBL AutoFood Black Automatic Feeder for Aquarium Fish
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Value For Money
|Zacro USB Charger Automatic Fish Feeder
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|Fish Mate F14 Aquarium Fish Feeder
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|Barkmew Automatic Fish Feeder
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Features to Consider When Choosing a Fish Feeder
The first thing to check is how much control you have over the feeding process. Can you set specific feeding times? What about days?
More settings give you more flexibility to determine how you feed your fish. Here are the most important settings.
- Day scheduling: Some fish feeders have a fixed daily feeding schedule. Others let you set whether to feed fish every day or every other day. The best choice depends on the type of fish you have and their feeding needs.
- Time settings: This one is super important. Look for a fish feeder that lets you feed the fish at least three times a day. Most fish do well on multiple small feedings daily. With most feeders, you can set the specific time each feed is dispensed.
- Portion control: Most fish feeders let you adjust feeding portions by adjusting the size of the food dispenser opening. As you adjust the opening, make sure it’s big enough to fit the type of food you’ve put in the tank. Foods like pellets need a bigger opening. Some fish feeders let you adjust portions by setting how many times food is dispensed per feeding.
- Manual feeding option: A manual feeding button lets you dispense food outside the set feeding times. It’s perfect if you want to give the fish a snack.
The right settings are not just important to keep fish well fed; they can also prevent a disastrous situation where too little or too much food is dispensed.
To little food will, obviously, starve your fish especially if you are away from home for an extended period.
Overfeeding is dangerous too. Too much food and waste in the fish tank can turn the water toxic and kill the fish.
B. Type of Fish Food
Fish feeders that accept all types of fish food including pellets, flakes, powders and granules are the best. They give you the flexibility to feed your fish whatever variety you prefer.
That said, different fish feeders work best with certain types of food. Some dispense flakes easily, but release too much food when you put in pellets (which can kill the fish). Others clog easily when you put in flakes, but work well with granules or pellets.
Check what the manufacturer recommends.
One of the biggest challenges with using a fish feeder is clogging. This is usually not a problem with the type of food or the design of the feeder. Often, the issue is your fish tank.
Water evaporating from the aquarium enters the food dispenser, causing the food to dampen and clog.
This can be a disaster if you are away on vacation. The fish feeder will stop dispensing food, causing fish to starve.
To keep this from happening, get a fish feeder with a built-in aerator. This is usually in form of a small fan that blows air over the food in the hopper to keep it dry.
Some fish feeders don’t have a built-in fan, but have a place that you can connect a line from your aquarium air pump to circulate air over the food (here’s how to silence your air pump).
Another way to reduce the risk of clogging, especially when you are away for days, is using pellets. They are less likely to dampen and clog compared to flakes. Just remember to adjust the size of the opening such that the pellets can easily come out when the dispenser turns.
Check how much food you can put in the feeder tank or hopper. Most feeders can hold 100ml to 200ml of food, while bigger ones can hold up to 500ml.
If you have a large aquarium, you need a big fish feeder. A small one will be a hassle to operate since you have to refill it frequently.
You should also get a high-capacity fish feeder if you often take extended trips. A 500ml feeder will feed your fish for a week or more while a 200ml feeder may be ideal for only a few days of vacation.
E. Battery Life
Don’t worry about this one. Fish feeders use very little power. They last for weeks before you need to recharge the battery or get new ones.
Whether you get a feeder with replaceable batteries or a rechargeable lithium ion battery is up to you. Both options work well.
Finally, check how the feeder attaches to the fish tank.
If you have an open fish tank, get a feeder with a mounting bracket that attaches to the side of the tank. This puts the food opening right over the fish tank.
If you have a closed aquarium, look for a feeder that attaches to the top of the lid with the opening sitting over the feeding hole.
Most fish feeders offer both installation options.
Top 5 Reviews
1. Eheim Automatic Battery Fish Feeding Unit
The Eheim automatic fish feeder is the best choice for small and medium size open-top aquariums. The rotating drum holds 100ml of fish food. The manufacturer recommends using flake for easy dispensing. You can also use pellets, krill or food stick.
Just make sure you adjust the slider to make the food opening wider or smaller depending on the kind of food you’ve put in the drum.
You can also use the slider to set how much food is dispensed. Make the opening wider to increase portions.
You can also increase portions when setting the feeding schedule on the small screen. Once you set the feeding times (you can schedule up to four feeds daily), you can set how many times the drum rotates per feed. More rotations means the feeder dispenses more food.
Scheduling options are limited to time and number of rotations per feed. You cannot set specific feeding days. The Eheim feeder has a fixed daily schedule. If your fish are on an every other day feeding routine, Eheim is not the right feeder for you.
There’s a manual feeding button you can use to check that the drum is working properly or give the fish an unscheduled snack.
Installation is easy. You have two options depending on the type of aquarium you have.
For open top aquariums, use the included bracket to mount the feeder on the side of the fish tank. For closed aquariums, simply set the feeder on the lid with the drum opening over the water. The feeder is weighted so it won’t topple over even when the drum is filled with food.
The Eheim feeder runs on two AA batteries, which are good for a few months.
2. JBL AutoFood Black Automatic Feeder for Aquarium Fish
If you are looking for a fish feeder with a bigger drum, get the JBL AutoFood. It holds 375ml of fish food, making it suitable for large aquarium and extended vacations.
The dispenser mechanism works best with granules and pellets up to 3mm wide. Flakes tend to clog the mechanism and don’t dispense properly. This is likely because the JBL AutoFood uses an internal corkscrew to dispense food – the drum itself doesn’t rotate. This makes it easy for flakes to compact.
But even pellets and granules can compact and clog the feeder if there’s too much evaporation from the aquarium. To prevent this, especially if you plan to be away for a while, use the provided airline connection to attach an aquarium air pump. This will aerate the food and keep it dry.
Scheduling is easy and quick. Once you set the current time, you can schedule up to four feeds per day. For each feed, you can set how much food will be dispensed.
Similar to the Eheim feeder, you cannot set the feeder too dispense food on specific days or every other day. You are stuck with the daily feeding schedule, which is what most people use anyway.
As for installation, you have two options. For open top fish tanks, use the included mounting bracket to secure the feeder on the side of the tank. For closed aquariums, use the suction cups to secure the feeder on the lid, making sure the drum is over an open part of the water.
The JBL AutoFood runs on three AA batteries, which last several weeks.
3. Zacro USB Charger Automatic Fish Feeder
Shopping on a budget? We recommend the Zacro rechargeable automatic fish feeder.
It comes with a 200ml drum, which is adequate for most home aquariums. You can fill the drum with most types of food including flakes, granules and pellets. The drum rotates to dispense food though an opening at the bottom.
The Zacro feeder doesn’t have a fan or an air pump connection. So we don’t recommend using flake food if you plan to be away for more than a day; your fish might starve when the feeder clogs. Use pellets or granules instead.
Setting a schedule is easy. You can schedule up to four feedings daily, and set the number of rotations per feed to between 1 and 3. There’s also a manual feeding option for unscheduled snacks.
As for installation, the best option is to mount it on the side of the fish tank using the included bracket.
If you have a closed fish tank, you can place the feeder on the lid. But watch out; it can topple over. It doesn’t seem to be weighted to balance the full drum. Some customers used double-sided tape to secure it to the lid.
The Zacro automatic fish feeder runs on a rechargeable lithium ion battery that lasts for weeks on a single charge. Use the included USB cable to recharge it.
4. Fish Mate F14 Aquarium Fish Feeder
The Fish Mate F14 has a unique design. Instead of a rotating drum, it has a rotating plate with 14 slots holding food.
The 14 slots limit you to a total of 14 feedings. Make sure you do your calculations when going on vacation to ensure the food will be enough.
Using the analogue clock-like timer, you can set up to four feeding times a day. Four feedings a day means the food will last three and a half days. A once-a-day feeding will feed the fish for fourteen days.
One thing we love about the design of the F14 is that a single feeding occurs over about two hours. This prevents fish from overfeeding.
You can use most kinds of fish food, but pellets and granules work best when you are away as they are less likely to clog from water vapour. If you prefer flakes, there’s an option to attach an airline to deliver air from an air pump. This will aerate the food and keep it dry.
Similar to other feeders, the Fish Mate F14 is suitable for both open and closed top aquariums. For closed aquarium, simply place the feeder on the hood with the opening over water. For open aquariums, use the included bracket to mount it on the side of the fish tank.
5. Barkmew Automatic Fish Feeder
Barkmew is another good option if you are shopping on a budget.
The 200ml drum is big enough for most home aquariums and you can put in any type of fish food including flakes, pellets or granules.
But during holidays and vacations when you are not around, we recommend using pellets or granules. The manufacturer says the drum is resistant to moisture, but considering there’s no option to connect an airline from your air pump, you don’t want to risk flakes clogging and not dispensing.
Scheduling is similar to other feeders. You can set up to three feeds a day and choose whether the drum will rotate once, twice or thrice.
There’s also a manual feeding option.
As for mounting, you can secure the feeder on the side of the fish tank or stick it on the lid using double-sided tape.