Automated feeding of reef chili (or something similar)

BrettDS

New member
I'm considering starting to use reef chili in my tank, but I'm big on automation and bad at remembering to feed something like that regularly. Additionally if it was automated then it could be fed at night when it might be best utilized.

I debated just trying to use the apex automated feeder to dump some in periodically, but I'm afraid that it will just stay clumped up and float at the top and wind up going over the overflow and not really benefiting anything. I also use two AFS's already to feed my fish two different types of pellets and they've learned to recognize the sound (or maybe vibrations) that the AFS makes and if I just put another AFS over the tank with reef chili than I'm guessing that one of the fish will just eat the clump of reef chili that falls into the tank before it even has a chance to break up.

I also considered mixing it in small batches and using a DOS or another dosing pump to add it to the tank, but I'm not sure how long a mixed batch would be good for, plus I suspect that it may settle after a while and the DOS would have a hard time picking it up. Ideally I'd like to mix up enough for a week or two at a time, but I'm just not sure that's really feasible.

The last idea I had, which I think may be the most likely to work would be to used the automated feeder, but to put it over the baffles in my sump before the return chamber. I'm thinking that the water moving over the baffles should help to pull the food into the water column and the return pumps will grab it and hopefully break up any clumps as it gets pumped up into the tank.

Has anyone tried to automate feeding of reef chili or something like it?
 

mcgyvr

New member
Typically one might use a small fridge with a hole in the side for the tubes, a magnetic stirrer under the container in the fridge and a dosing pump whos tubing is cleaned regularly..
 

droog

New member
@OP - Reef chili is good, but it will begin to decompose within 24 hours once added to water. So this idea is not really feasible. If you take a look over in the NPS forum, there is a lot of discussion of automated (and continuous) feeding setups. In general they are a lot of work, probably not what you had in mind...

A few things that might work for you

- Flake food (cyclopeeze or similar) in an auto-feeder
- All-in one pellets that feed fish and corals (neptune crossover diet)
- Mix reef chilli in a water bottle, upside down with a small hole in the lid. Let it drip slowly into the tank overnight

Watch the nutrient levels closely if you automate this...

-droog
 

BrettDS

New member
Thanks for the ideas, guys. I've definitely seen the fridge/dosing pump setups and I was hoping to avoid something that complicated... I don't really have any space for a mini fridge near the tank anyway.

I actually already have the Neptune crossover diet in one of my auto feeders. I imagine it helps to some extent, but I question just how much.

I ordered some reef chili since it's on sale now and I'll play around with it a bit when it gets here... maybe manually feed it for a while and see how things do. I may also try to manually dose it into a high flow area in the sump and see if the return pumps can break it up and spread it around the tank.
 

MrDaniel

New member
There are a number of autofeeders designed to dispense dry food. These typically have timers built into them which allow you to control how often the food is fed.
 

MrDaniel

New member
You can also control how much food is fed at a time. You might have to make some home modifications to use a powdered food but I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard.
 

H2OCulture

New member
A great simple solution to this is to get a set of large ice cube trays: http://www.target.com/p/refinery-ic...pipadh1|related_prods_vv|pdpipadh1|51078519|2

Fill the ice tray up halfway and freeze. Once frozen, sprinkle a generous amount of reef chili or your favorite coral feed on top. Wait a couple of minutes and add more water. Re-freeze. Before you go to bed every night, drop one of these frozen ice cube/reef chili blocks into the water. As it dissolves, it will release food into the water column for your corals. No pumps, tubing, or stir bars required.
 

EMeyer

New member
The last idea I had, which I think may be the most likely to work would be to used the automated feeder, but to put it over the baffles in my sump before the return chamber. I'm thinking that the water moving over the baffles should help to pull the food into the water column and the return pumps will grab it and hopefully break up any clumps as it gets pumped up into the tank.
I do exactly this in one of my coral tanks. It seems to work well -- I can see the food in the display tank shortly after the feeder goes off.

My biggest challenge has been that in the high humidity environment of a sump, reef chili and other powder foods tend to cake. So I have some small rocks tumbling in the food chamber and clean and refill weekly, more frequently than Id like to otherwise.
 

BrettDS

New member
IMy biggest challenge has been that in the high humidity environment of a sump, reef chili and other powder foods tend to cake. So I have some small rocks tumbling in the food chamber and clean and refill weekly, more frequently than Id like to otherwise.


I wonder about putting one or two of those silica gel packets in the auto feeder with the powder to absorb any moisture.
 

meverha1

New member
Should Reef Chili (or similar) be fed at a certain time? I generally just mix a bit up with some tank water twice a week and dump it in when I'm feeding my fish. Sometimes I spot-feed if I feel like it. Am I doing it "wrong?"
 

BrettDS

New member
I think typically a lot of corals feed at night. Many will still take food during the day too, so I'm not sure there's really a 'right' and 'wrong' way to do it. But it has been suggested that your corals may get some additional benefit if you feed after lights out.
 

scooter31707

New member
IME, seems like I get a better feeding response from the corals about 30 minutes after lights out which I spot feed. I have notice when I just squirted the Reef-Chili into the tank my phosphates went up. So I started spot feeding and phosphates did not go up at all.
 
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