Aquarium Hack: How To Make A DIY FIsh Feeder Using A Cellphone

An automatic fish feeder is a great way to ensure that your fish are getting the food they need whenever they need it. It’s a simple solution for when you’re away and if you don’t have friend or family to get help from. 

There is a variety of fish feeders that you can buy at the store, but for some of you, DIY is the way to go. 

I’ve found this rather intuitive video tutorial that shows you how to build a simple gravity aquarium feeder that you can trigger remotely with a quick phone call.

When you need to feed your fish, you just call your fish feeder. Your call triggers the phone to vibrates which drops food into the tank. Call it from anywhere, and let the phone ring once for a little food or multiple times for more food.

Featured Image Credit: Karina Fuller

Tutorial: DIY Automatic Fish Feeder

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This neat tutorial was done by Youtube user Serghei Roman. So, credits to him for coming up with this intuitive solution.

Here’s a quick summary I’ve made of the tutorial.

  • You’ll need
  • Instructions
  • An old cell phone that vibrates. The vibration is the important part here. Any old cell phone or old pager would work well as long as it can receive a signal and vibrate. If you’re worried about cell phone or pager charges, then get a cheap pay-as-you-go cell phone or pager.

TIP: You can get cheap cellphones for below $30 from (check here) or even eBay.

  • An empty plastic bottle. The bottle can be any shape, but it needs to be big enough to fit your cell phone or pager and a food supply in it. Any bottle you have on hand will work just fine. Use a large bottle if you don’t want to fill the feeder often. Square water bottles are great because you can just set them in the gap at the back of your tank.
  • Three wooden matches. You will be stacking these on top of each other and using them as a spacer at the mouth of your bottle. The matches will work well for small pellet food or flake food. If your food is a larger pellet, you will need to use more matches or larger pieces of wood. You want three pieces of wood that are about the size of the
  • A plastic cap about 2 inches in diameter. A milk cap would work great here and so would a large juice bottle lid. All you need is a disc that is larger in diameter than the mouth of your bottle but narrower than a common matchstick. Gluing things together will be easier if your cap and bottle are made of the same kind of plastic, but you can use different plastic
  1. Cut the bottom off of the plastic bottle and remove the cap.
  2. Place the milk cap (or wooden disc) screw side down on the table. Glue the three matchsticks (or wooden craft sticks) in a stack onto the milk cap and glue it to the mouth of the bottle so the matches are acting as a spacer between the cap and the bottle.
  3. Fill the bottle with dry food pellets. Leave enough room to place your pager or phone in the bottle too.
  4. Set the phone or pager to vibrate and put it in the bottle, right in with the food.
  5. Place the bottle so the mouth is above the fish tank. You can attach it to the back of the tank, the wall or hang it from a plant hook in the ceiling. If your bottle is big enough, you can just balance it on the tank edge and the lid.
  6. Call the phone or pager. The vibrations loosen the food causing it to fall. Once the ringing stops, the food will stop falling.

That’s all it takes! You’re done. You’ll have to admit, it’s quite a smart way of making your own remote controlled fish feeder. 

Would it work?

I guess you can only know for sure until you try it. Which, admittedly, I haven’t. But here are some of the pros and cons that I could think of with this DIY fish feeder device.


  • Having control of when you feed. You get total control of when you feed by calling whenever you want. As compared to an automated timer.
  • Simple Solution. You only need a couple of easy to find and cheap materials. Your biggest expense would be the cellphone which you can get actually get for cheap if you look around.


  • Cellphone battery running out. I know the older phones’ battery life seems to last forever, but what if you’re away for weeks? Doubt it could last with
  • Potential hazard. If the cellphone were to fall into your tank, the battery acid might pollute your tank! So be sure to secure it well if you decide to try it out.

What’s Your Take?

What’s your opinion on this DIY aquarium fish feeder idea? Do you think this would work? Would you try it yourself? 

Share it with us in the comments section below.

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About Dennis Hanson

Dennis is an experienced aquarist with many years of knowledge and experience in keeping successful tanks. He also has no relations to the pop group Hanson.

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