It is best to feed the fish in the aquarium every day, even better is to feed them more than once every day as they then get food sparingly throughout the day however what do you do when you are away from home.
In my opinion it is best to have someone come around to the house to look after the aquarium whilst you are away. If someone else looks after your aquarium whilst you are away then they can top up the water, look for and react to any potential issues etc, however, this it is not always faesible or possible.
In these circumstances you can always install an auto top-up device if your aquarium will require water replacing due to evaporation whilst you are away. You can install an auto shut off device in the sump to protect the equipment in the sump if anything happens.
But what about the fish?
The fish are going to need to be fed. There will be food in the aquarium which the fish can eat – dependent upon the fish however this may not sustain them so it is better to provide some way to faciliate the provision of food.
This can be accomplished in a number of ways.
The first one is to prepare some food before you leave and then use something like a perastaltic pump on a timer to provide food throughout the day. The trouble with this option is that the food will not last for long before going off.
The second option is to use an automatic fish feeder. These devices are normally battery powered and have little compartments which the dry food is located. On the device is a timer which you can program to feed the fish throughout the day/week. Basically when the timer reaches a time which is feeding time the compartment opens and the food falls into the aquarium. They are very simple devices and very simple to use – you place some food, normally flake food into the compartments, set the timer and you are good to go.
The main trouble with some of these devices is that the dry food in the compartments becomes damp and then when the compartment opens at feeding time the food does not fall out as it is stuck to the sides. Some devices have in-built air blowers which attempt to keep the food dry however I have found that in a reef tank with higher water movement they still do not completely prevent the food from becoming damp therefore not all the food will be dispensed however some of it will and some food is better than no food at all.
So are they worth it?
In my opinion automatic fish feeders are worth it if you are not able to get anyone to look after your aquarium whilst you are away – afterall some food is better than no food at all.