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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Forum;
My 55G with no cross-piece but two 24" Perfecto lids, 1 Emp 400 (with Reynolds mod), 1 old Whisper #2) HOB filters (so fairly continuous and complete top coverage), stocked with 4 adolescent S. Juriparis is bio-stable, fish are happy (plenty of hiding places/personal territory sight-blocks), making occasional displays (but little more) at each other, and ready to be put on automatic during an extended care by house-sitter only.
I have previously used and like the Eheim Everyday Feeder, when mid and surface feeding fish occupied the tank (I used tape over the feed opening to further reduce feed dosage, and keep the tank from turning into a cesspool in my absence), but now feed the Juripari with 3mm sinking cichlid pellets which they find on the bottom and like...these I drop manually into the front of tank where they typically make it to the bottom and dont get caught up in (artificial) plants, where the fish don't seem to find or take notice of them...these bottomfeeders seem (understandably) quite indifferent to food on the surface...so my dilemma is: How do I place the auto-feeder such that sinking pellets make it to the bottom where fish can get to them...I can't leave the lid open (fear of splashing, evap and rare as it might be for juripari, jumping escape attempts...I suppose I can remove some of the plants to assure pellets make it to the bottom...I was thinking of replacing Lid with a custom made "Vacation Lid" made of plexi that had a strategically placed opening above which the auto-feeder could be located, but I welcome any thoughts or suggestions for how I could use this feeder effectively.
TIA from Connecticut!
 

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Ronzo, what I did on my 220G Malawi tank was remove the hinge portion of the canopy and use some spare plastic back strips to create a small opening for the feeder to drop food BUT since you don't have the cross-piece trim it probably wouldn't work for you.

I do like the idea of using a 'Vacation Lid' as it would probably fit your needs. Plexiglas or acrylic may work though I do notice some sag over a week when using thinner materials. Another option may be to use twin-wall Polycarbonate which is used for greenhouse roofs, it's a bit pricey but easy to cut with a utility knife and doesn't sag. You could even use egg crate (light grid) and wrap it in Saran wrap to reduce evaporation but leave uncovered the area for the feeder to dispense the food.

I think as long as you locate the feeder in the general area that you normally feed them, it should just dispense the food in the regular spot. If you have time to set up this vacation lid prior to your absence, you can tweak it as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Deeda;

Thanks for quick reply...I think I will make up the Vacation Lid...it will replace the hinged front part of one of the Perfecto lids...I've thought about this a fair amount and really don't see any other satisfactory options...I'll see about documenting it with some pix.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Deeda;

"Vacation Lid" is constructed and in place, with an Eheim timer feeder dispensing through a 1X2" hole. Hole is surrounded by a raised ring of RTV to give a bit of funneling action and minimize waste/eliminate missing the drop hole. An additional bead of RTV on the low front edge underside also acts as a drip-edge. Lid is in-place and undergoing beta testing. I'll see if any changes or fine-tuning are required...when it is in its final version, I'll post some pix. Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
...I'm just optimizing the feedtimes vs the automated light and circ pump on-times now (filters and air-pump remain ON)...an hour after lights/circ pump on, mid day, an hour before lights/circ pump off...I did notice "Vacation Lid" is bowing slightly (its made of 1/4" polycarbonate I had in stock... quite strong, probably Lexan I think...it didn't tend to want to split or chip when I cut it with saber saw using a fine blade, so I don't think it was plexi, which would have probably blown apart...). I think I will add a right angle strip below as anti bow/drip-edge... Result so far: Pellets (good dosage level too...on the low side) drop into open area and fishies find them well...so far so good! Pix of Rev 0 here: Cheers
 

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Nice job on the vacation lid!! You probably won't get enough warp to cause the feeder to fall into the tank or to cause issues with food dispensing so it's probably just fine.

I found the greatest bowing occurs in the center of temporary acrylic lids where there is no support so adding a brace front to back that can rest on the existing tank trim or similar objects would probably be most helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Deeda; The Vacation Lid worked well for my three week absence...no fish loss, and the house-sitter even said she made friends with the juriparis...in that they would come out and eat and sift while she was watching...

Upon my return, the bluegreen algae was flourishing (suggests high Nitrates), there were some pellets laying around (or hung up in the plants) which were not found by juriparis, and these grew fuzzies and were decomposing, so I did an immediate maintenance (50%) WC with gravel wash, to remove the nasties, which brought the tank back to clean and stable...so far so good...everybody (2, 2 1/2" juriparis) was eating, looking good, tank was clean and seemed fine, but after a week or two I noticed one fish was not eating, emaciated and only hiding...I checked the pH, and found it to be on the acidy side (6.0 indicated), so I tried bringing it down slowly over the period of two days by adding bicarb...without success...I still lost that fish...two weeks later the last fish stopped eating and was weak (otherwise looked good in terms of fin condition, girth) tank was 6.0 acidy again so I did and emergency 50% change plus bicarb treatment (to 6.4) which seemed to help, but I still lost the last one...he looked fine, but was stone dead...no fin damage, no hemorrhaging around the gills...nothing out of the ordinary. Given the low bioload, and that I water the houseplants with tank water (probably 2 Gal) and replace this with temp equalized, Stress Coat added, tap water every two days...add to that major WC every couple of months (I know this is probably on the low side, but I figure this is a very low bioload which shouldn't need more), is this what causes the water to go acidy? I have not tested Nitrates. Temp is in the high 70s... Heater hasn't come on since its summer.

I feel really bad about killing off the juriparis...I'd love to get more, but killing them off is sure not my idea of being a good fishkeeper...heck, the tank on automatic and the house-sitter did better than me!...are juriparis particularly sensitive to pH? Temperature? Something else? I thought they were fairly hardy. I only have plastic plants in the tank...(filtration is Emperor 400 plus Reynolds mod giving additional bioreaction surface, plus old Whisper No2, both HOB). What am I doing wrong?

I am trying to keep my Ncycle going in preparation for restocking, by dropping a few feeding pellets into the tank every few days, and I would do a 50% change just before adding new fish, but I'm completely spooked now...I am not (an intentional, nor do I want to be a) fish killer! Should I check Nitrates?

Thanks for reading...any advice gratefully accepted!
 

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Thanks for the update on the auto feeder working well for you, nice to hear some feedback on this project.

I'm so sorry that you have lost both fish though! I have not kept this species so can't advise on what went wrong with them. A quick search brought up This article on keeping them and that the author said warm, soft and slightly acidic water worked for him. You may be better served by starting a new topic in the South American forum with the tank details, etc.
 
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