Cheap Automatic Aquarium Feeder on the Go.




Now you don't need to worry about buying an expensive automatic feeder for your aquarium.
Here is a cheap alternative you can make in a few minutes without electronics knowledge.

Step 1: Materials Needed

1 Working battery clock or clock parts.
1 Small plastic can (must be light weight)
2 Thin neodymium magnets
1 Plastic pen or plastic tube

Step 2: Tools Needed

1 Screwdriver (for dismount the clock case)
1 cutter knife
Some instant glue like cyanoacrylate

Step 3: Preparing the Clock

If you have the clock parts or the gearbox, goto the next step.

Proceed to dismount the clock case for removing the front (transparent) cover.
Once you remove the transparent cover, mount again.

Carefully remove the clock hands pulling them slightly towards you, one by one.

Step 4: The Timer

- Cut a piece about 20mm of tube from the pen. Another kind of plastic tube is ok.
- Sandpaper the the tube to make a perfect cylinder.

- Put the cylinder on the exact center of one magnet and drop a glue drop inside to paste both parts.

- Roll a piece of fine sandpaper and put it into the cylinder.
- Sandpaper turning inside the tube and check until the piece fits perfectly on the outer gear piece (where the hours hand was)

Step 5: The Automatic Food Dispenser

- Paste one magnet on the exact center of the plastic can.

- Make a square of about 10mm on the can and cut it. (Better if you heat the blade of the knife to avoid cracking the plastic)

- Draw a 30x30mm square on a cardboard and cut it making a cross.
- Bend the tabs as shown in the picture and paste with adhesive tape to make an opened box
- Paste the box with adhesive tape by the outer lid inside the plastic can.
- Remember that the hole of the box should go clockwise to let the food go by.

Do not glue the box tho the plastic can, maybe you'll need to make a different size one in the future. Use adhesive tape to do this.

The bigger the window and the box are, more food will fall.

Step 6: Finishing the Project

Almost done!!!

- Open the plastic can and fill it with your fish favourite food (then close it).

- Take the clock and the plastic can and let the magnets do their work...

Now the clock will drop a bit of food each 12 hours (when the window is at 6 o'clock).

Enjoy it!!!!



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    58 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice device, indeed. I should try this as well.
    My fish needs different food: chips, flakes and small sand food.
    Do you have any idea to make the same kind of feeder for different food types?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 months ago

    if you still want to use only one clock,
    you can make 3 chambers inside the plastic container. The 3 chamber each has its' own window to dispense the different food type

    elufoChandula De Silva

    Reply 9 months ago

    - Paste the box with adhesive tape by the outer lid inside the plastic can.

    Chandula De Silva

    10 months ago

    I cannot see clearly how to fix the small box to the cup.


    2 years ago

    hello elufo thank you very much for such a nice idea, i also made one.

    First day it worked well and the second day I have encountered one problem, moister started getting inside the container and the food started sticking on the walls of the container. Did you face this issue? I just wrapped the container with aluminium foil and waiting for the result.

    1 reply
    john lesterbthomasplam

    Reply 1 year ago

    Keep it away from heating elements, filter, pumps and air bubbles. The aquarium cover should also have another vent or opening aside from the opening for automatic feeder.


    2 years ago

    Great!!! it's works....i can go with no worry


    2 years ago

    AWESOME! I'm doing this with a slight modification: insted of paper I'll be using aluminum from a soda can, I expect to regulate quantity of food by folding open and close said aluminium. Thanks for this genius idea.

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    If you make two openings in the can you will get a 6 hour feeding interval. By using a can which has a lid bigger than the base you will have food always coming towards the opening.


    3 years ago

    Its quite intuitive and ingenious solution, i've built one on the same lines but i dont get the need for couple of things

    1. The magnet, i could directly fix the box the hour clock hand

    2. The pen chop, i found it easier to fix the plastic box directly to the hour dial than through the pen cut.

    Also i guess havinh a pen cut and magnets will add more weight and the dial.

    Its posible i could be missing the primary reason for those, if so let me know.


    10 years ago on Step 6

    I have an auto feeder that I bought at a pet store. This idea is great as it allows the fish to get fed at the same time each day and they never miss a meal and allows you to leave on holiday for a week or two. My feeder allows me to leave for a month without worrying. Anyone have any ideas how I can keep my water level in the tank constant? If so let me know and I'll be all set for another vacation! BTW, The feeder is placed on top of the tanks allowing the plastic can to rotate freely. Thanks for sharing your idea!

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    How many gallons is your aquarium? If large enought you could implement some sort of device, that works the same way as a toilet, when water drops below certain point then tank fills appropriatley. Viola,


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much, gonna build mine soon :) I have some modifications in my mind. Don't worry I will put my pics.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Some advice: don't use automatic feeders for your aquarium. There are only disadvantages:
    1. The food might cake together from the heat of the lamps, it is possible to disturb the working of the device.
    2. The food needs to be stored at room temperature, the heat of the lamps will cause the vitamines to break down.
    3. Every week fishes need to get a day of fast. Also 2 days a week it's important you give your fish frozen food to keep them in optimal health.

    Feed your fish by hand each day 1 time and use the weekend or vacation food if your out.