The Plank Automatic Feeder
The Plank Automatic Feeder
Dosing System for Plankton
The Plank automatic feeder represents years of our efforts to find and build a device that both serves the needs of our most delicate and selective aquarium inhabitants as well as our ability to realistically attend to their well-being. Many reef fish and most corals have evolved to continuously eat small prey items out of the water column. However, as aquarists, it is usually not feasible for us to administer a continuous, low-density supply of small, nutritious food items in our rapidly and heavily filtered reef aquaria. This would mean adding small doses of thawed plankton by hand, dozens of times per day; those of us with jobs and a life know this isn’t practical.
Automate frequent, small feedings as often as you’d like
The Plank is specifically designed to allow this type of frequent micro-feeding technique. We’ve found over years of testing that freeze dried plankton, from tiny rotifers and calanoid copepods to larger mysis and Euphasia sp. shrimp, serve as an excellent alternative to live and frozen food options. Freeze-dried food is nutritionally complete, often even better than many frozen preparations. However, it has often been difficult to administer to the typical reef aquarium due to its tendency to float for a long time after being added to water. Even with a simple floating feeding ring, freeze dried food particles usually find their way to the surface and into an overflow box, only to be filtered out before being consumed. Our system solves this problem by incorporating a powered mixing chamber that forces most of the food particles to become neutrally buoyant before being allowed to escape. This results in a nearly continuous supply of freshly hydrated plankton in the water column.
Many small high-energy reef fish such as anthias and wrasses, along with juveniles of basically every species, have low capacity, rapid digestive systems. Once or twice per day blasts of even the highest quality frozen food often isn’t enough for them. If the answer is continuous availability, the question becomes, how do we achieve this without sacrificing water quality by adding too much food? In our years of searching, the automatic feeding devices out there didn’t have suitable control of either the frequency or amount of food dispensed, or both. The common design we have all seen is the tumbling drum that dumps a pile of food into the water out of a flimsy sliding gate that always seems to move itself if you even breathe on it. Some only offer a few feeding times per day, and if the batteries run out, you have to remember how to reprogram it with the awkward buttons. Yes, we have a shelf full of these devices collecting dust.
Safe and Reliable
Slow dosing mechanism prevents accidentally adding large quantities of food
Silent, long lasting AC motor
Easy to service design
The Plank uses a precise auger driven mechanism that is capable of dosing micrograms of freeze dried plankton at a time. Rather than complicate our device with yet another hard to remember programming interface, we opted to offload this to well known control systems like your chosen aquarium controller, a ubiquitous digital timer, or an inexpensive wifi-enabled, smartphone controlled power adapter. Simply set the timer to run for as many seconds or minutes as you see fit, and let the Plank keep your aquarium continuously fed. You’ll see your fish behave more as they would on a wild reef, a continuous feeding environment, having brighter colors and vigorous activity.
These dual adapters (search: "Avatar wifi smart plug") allow you to plug the above-linked timer into one half and the mixing pump into the other. This way, you can override the timer with basic on/off, plus let the mixing pump run on a separate schedule if you don't want to leave it running 24/7.
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Sometimes things don't work out. We make it easy to return or exchange items should you need to do so.