Introduction: Solar Powered LED Fish Feeder

Many people have fish ponds. Some are simply decorative and others are to raise fish for market or to feed the family.

This Instructable is aimed at increasing the productivity of small scale fish ponds. It's really cheap to make, so I actually think that this concept could be used to help boost the protein available to subsistence farmers and small communities in developing countries. It could of course also be also used to help feed goldfish in a decorative pond too.

The idea is to use a light source to attract flying insects at night. The insect's navigation is disturbed by the light, and the insect spirals into the water where it instantly becomes fish food. The fish grow fat, and in turn provide food for humans.

The idea isn't new; I saw a similar design in a permaculture magazine many years ago. All I have done is utilize a cheap solar LED garden light and recycled materials.


Step 1: Materials You Will Need

  • A light. I found a really cheap solar garden light in the discount shop.
  • A float. I used some polystyrene packing material that happened to be a usable shape.
  • Something to support the light. I used some mesh.
  • Duct tape. Every project can use duct tape.
  • String. Almost as useful as duct tape.
Of course you can use whatever you can find. As long as a light is somehow supported over water you can't go wrong.

Step 2: Assembly

First create your float. A ring shape works well. I just used some polystyrene which I thoroughly taped up with duct tape to prevent it from disintegrating and making a mess.

Then make a support for the light. I used some weld-mesh. The important thing about this is that the insects can fall into the water.

Then Attach your light to the support. Make sure that the solar panel gets sunshine, and that the light will be visible from all angles.

Make a mooring line or anchor line with the string.

Step 3: Launch

Simply float your fish feeder in the pond. Position it where it will get plenty of sunshine during the day, and where fish are likely to be swimming about during the night. Use the string to stop it from floating away.

Now you have a fisher feeder that provides additional food for your fish so long as there insects flying about at night.



Comments

author
DconBlueZ made it! (author)2012-09-28

Basically a good idea I think, and though the duct tape will degrade in sunlight in a few weeks you might find some UV-resistant tape that would work.

author
huddleto made it! (author)2012-04-25

This is a great idea! I have land in the country with no electricity and recently stocked a pond with catfish and hybrid bluegills (am in Texas). I can check something on my smartphone at night out there and bugs come swarming to the light so I think a regular light like Cammers used will work just fine. I just found some styrofoam and will be building this within the next few days. Hey Cammer, did you wrap the foam with duct tape to prevent the sun from breaking down the foam?

author
cammers made it! (author)cammers2012-04-25

Thanks for your comments. I will be very interested to hear how your project goes.
I totally covered the foam with tape just to prevent it from breaking up and making a mess. I think it's OK in UV, but when it shatters it goes everywhere.
Cheers, C

author
Gunther45 made it! (author)2011-12-03

Well I don't have a pond but I like the idea. I would definitely try Kiteman's UV LED idea, as all bug zappers that I have seen here in the states use UV. One thing I would recommend would be do some arches around the bottom so the dead bugs can float away. I am not suggesting that you would get a build up of dead bugs underneath but it looks as the lighter would collect before the sink.

How long does the light last? If you could use rechargeable batteries and build a recharger into it but you could do a bug zapping dome of some sort ( well not the AC bug fryers but it should be enough to stun them to fall into the water. though even more dead bugs and fat fishies.

author
cammers made it! (author)cammers2011-12-04

Good ideas. Thanks.

author
Electronics Man made it! (author)2011-06-23

I guess I missed how this thing was supposed to feed fish

author
cammers made it! (author)cammers2011-06-23

Flying insects are attracted to the light. Their navigation is disturbed and they crash into the water. There are fish in the water. The fish gobble up the insects and grow fat.
This obviously won't work on vegan fish.

author
Electronics Man made it! (author)Electronics Man2011-06-23

OK thanks for clearing that up for me. By the way great instable!

author
cammers made it! (author)cammers2011-06-23

Thanks.

author
kostya made it! (author)2011-06-19

I don't want to to be a wet blanket but the project seems to me useless. Pond fish tend to swim close to the bank at nighttime. Isn't it easier to install lights at the bank? Lights will reflect on the water surface and attract insects. These lights can help to catch fish, especially those which are active at nighttime.

author
cammers made it! (author)cammers2011-06-19

Those fish that don't want to venture out of their depth in the dark can have the insects for their breakfast in the morning. They'll still be there; they'll just be a bit soggy.
You should really think things through before calling someone's project "useless".

author
kostya made it! (author)kostya2011-06-19

I beg your pardon. I didn't notice you are from Astralia. Perhaps Australian fish behaviour is different from that in Europe.

author
cammers made it! (author)cammers2011-06-19

No worries Kostya. I actually think that the fish will go to the food source, and will soon learn that the light equals food.
The reason for floating the light on water is that all the insects that fall for the trick will hit the water. If the light was on the bank, a lot of the insects will simply land on dry land.
If the fish do stay close to the shore then the feeder can be placed close to the shore just as easily as anywhere else.

author
kostya made it! (author)kostya2011-06-20

I see your point, cammers.I think it WILL work but only in hot countries with lots of insects. In Europe most pond fish are plant-eaters. Insects become an important part of their ration during a short period of time at the beginning of summer.

author
tinker234 made it! (author)2011-06-19

ow this is amazing aloth the that koysta does be negitve he has a point if you made more on the edge you could attract more fish hey shouldnt you disquse it as i dont know a rock for well looks

author
Kiteman made it! (author)2011-06-18

As a prototype, this is a great idea.

You need to watch it, now, to see what sort of "catch" you get - how many, what kind, what size.

You might also want to swap out some of the white LEDs from the lamp and try UV ones as well, as a lot of insects see UV light very well (I'm thinking moths here).

author
cammers made it! (author)cammers2011-06-18

Thanks Kiteman.
I am planning to do some testing. It's winter here now and not the best time of year for insects. In summer when the bogon moths are around this could work really well.

One day I would like to try this concept out in Philippines where I have some contacts. They have flying insect in abundance and plenty of resourceful people.

I hadn't thought of UV. Thanks for that.

About This Instructable

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