DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

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DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 2nd 2010, 4:38 pm

So I've been trying to figure out how to make one on the cheap for a while now, and I may have an idea.

Minifridges are a dime a dozen, but I'm trying to build something more compact. I found a desktop micro fridge that runs about $30-$40 and a cheap dosing pump ( so cheap I'm sure it will fail Pointing ) in the $14 range. I'll need a pump to feed water up out of the tank then through the microfridge and back into the tank, which I have laying around. Then a venturi valve setup to plumb into the line running from the pump into the fridge and back into the tank.

Hook all this up onto a digital timer mount, mount it on the wall above my tank, and voila.

Now lets see if it'll work, other than in theory omg

I should have everything for it by next weekend.
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by Hero on October 2nd 2010, 5:34 pm

Lol great idea! Patent your design if it works ninja.

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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 2nd 2010, 5:46 pm

Its based off an idea I got from Steve Weasts setup, this one will just be a little slimmer and more affordable. It'll only be able to house 1-2 bottles of liquid food instead of 3-4. And it doesn't have a cool magnetic stirrer..........yet Cool wink
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by Hero on October 3rd 2010, 12:15 pm

Haha. I can't wait to see how this works out. When you're done could you post a cost so I can have an idea of how much it costs Very Happy.

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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 3rd 2010, 5:18 pm

Man I am just saving money all the time, lol. Figured out how to make my own magnetic stirrer using a an old computer fan some pvc and some magnets.

Total cost, maybe $5 when I'm done gathering leftovers from my garage.

I am going to splurge a little on the refrigeration unit though, only $66 but more than my free mini fridge sitting in the garage doing nothing. Found THIS ONE ON EBAY It houses the wine bottles upright so It is only 10 inches deep which will allow me to mount it on the wall. Also liked the idea of a viewable front.
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 3rd 2010, 10:45 pm

Found this neat thread on a DIY dosing system, going to try and use something similar for dosing food into my tank, but keep it all refrigerated.

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f76/diy-dosing-pump-26883.html
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 4th 2010, 12:38 pm

Well the DIY magnetic stirrer works, I just need my stir bar I ordered off ebay to show up now. All I need now is a variable voltage regulator to control the fan speed and a project box to house it in.
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 4th 2010, 12:45 pm

I also tested out this idea in my garage over the weekend with just water. So far it seems as though it should work. The only problem I've had is limiting the air going into the jar. The cheapo plastic turn valves are not going to do it. Just gotta pick some metal ones that can hold back the air pressure without leaking like the plastic ones are.

I hooked what I have so far up and tested it out on a digital timer. I set the timer for 1 minute and it easily drained 2 cups worth of liquid out of the "feeding" jar and into my measuring cup and then turned off with out any syphon since I put a 1 way valve on the air line.
AquaticEngineer wrote:Found this neat thread on a DIY dosing system, going to try and use something similar for dosing food into my tank, but keep it all refrigerated.

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f76/diy-dosing-pump-26883.html
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 4th 2010, 1:16 pm

Here's a pic of the fridge I got on ebay. Its dimensions are 13W x 10D x 16H and it can hold 4 bottles of wine, so it should have plenty of room for what I need it for.
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by Hero on October 4th 2010, 9:17 pm

Good thing you're good with the DIY stuff. It's all over my head Rolling Eyes.

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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by Brent on October 4th 2010, 9:43 pm

Pufferfreak wrote:Good thing you're good with the DIY stuff. It's all over my head Rolling Eyes.

Haha, agreed.

I might have understood half of what he posted... Razz
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by steveweast on October 4th 2010, 11:15 pm

My advice is to not go the stirrer route. While it sounds like a good idea....it's really not that practical. I seldom use mine. The real problem comes with the refrigerated shelf life of defrosted foods. In my case, I wanted to dose cyclopese over a several week period. It turns out that the shelf life of defrosted cyclopese (even at 38 F) is a couple of days. I'm sure other foods are similar. Without the preservatives, it spoils quickly even if kept just above freezing. I occasionally set it up....but, IMO, it was a failed experiment.....not from a functioning standpoint...but, from a food preservation standpoint. If you have another food in mind that needs constant stirring...but, does not spoil....then go for it.
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 5th 2010, 12:15 am

I was planning on mimicking your feeding style actually and going with the Reef Nutrition foods. The stirrer was more or less something for me to build while I wait for stuff from ebay to show up Laughing I thought I might use it for dosing a cube of frozen plankton or something on occasion.
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 8th 2010, 12:38 am

Picked up 2 of these dosing pumps off ebay for a smoking deal.

Found info on them here:
http://www.cannonwater.net/dr-2000.aspx
http://www.beta-technology.com/Industrial_DR-2000.html
Its no bubble magus, but it should get the job done.
Total price for entire setup should be under $150.

The whine chiller fridge should be here tomorrow, then I just gotta wait until pay day to buy some pipe and fittings and we are into the test phase Very Happy
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by Hero on October 8th 2010, 12:57 pm

Perfect!

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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by jared on October 12th 2010, 2:10 am

This sounds really cool. I'm thinking of doing something similar. I have a couple of peristaltic dosing pumps that I'm not using at the moment. I bought some RotiFeast today. Now I just need a mini-fridge and some plumbing...
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 12th 2010, 1:17 pm

So I've decided to finally set up my smaller 50 gallon cube tank and move all the heavily fed inverts into that tank. This way I can provide a more controlled flow and better feeding with the automated feeder.

One thing I'm working on is looping the feeding system into the return lines and using an automated valve to bypass the filtration when the feeder turns on. Again this is all borrowed ideas from others experiences.

Hopefully the dosing pumps show up this week so I can get started. I'm picking up a stand/cart that a local guy built that is on caster wheels like my 2 tanks are. This cart should be able to house my home made cooler sump, the skimmer which I still need to buy, and the fridge auto feeder and still be moveable with the tank.
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 12th 2010, 6:03 pm

Here's a pic of my soon to be filter/refridgerator auto feeder cart for the the 50 gallon. It should fit just about everything I need and then some for the tank while still making the system moveable since its in the garage. Gonna give it a nice black paint job to match the rest of the tank setup.
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by Hero on October 14th 2010, 3:01 am

Where do you get all of this stuff lol Razz.

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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 14th 2010, 11:49 am

Either craigslist, ebay, or the classified section on www.pnwmas.org which is the local marine aquarium club.
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by Hero on October 15th 2010, 10:47 pm

Oh. Easy enough! Thanks.

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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 16th 2010, 1:40 am

Dosing pumps showed up today, should work out perfect. I can program them to dose for different intervals from 1 second up to 20 minutes up to 24 times a day 7 days a week.

I think I'm going to purchase a different mini fridge though. The one from ebay didnt work so I am waiting for a refund, and the one I have in my garage is the right size but has a freezer in it that is hooked into the coolant line so it cant be removed. Should be able to get what I need on craigslist for under $40 though.

After I know what fridge I will be using I just gotta get some plumbing pieces from home depot and it should be done, gotta try to figure out a good feeding schedule now Very Happy
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 16th 2010, 10:54 pm

Picked up the basics for plumbing up the feeder today, also got some paint and primer to do the new stand in so it matches the other tanks. Tested the peristaltic pumps and they work great. I'll try and get some pics up tomorrow.
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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 17th 2010, 10:14 pm

Got all the pipe pieces to finish up the auto feeder. Gotta drill it and glue it now then get it plumbed into the system.

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Re: DIY Refridgerated Auto Feeding Unit

Post by Hero on October 20th 2010, 12:54 am

Nice nice. Coming along well.

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