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Daphne: "Does anyone use the Rondomatic or Lifeguard auto-feeders for dry
chemicals? If so, how much do the hoppers hold? The Lifeguard seems like it
should hold more per hopper since there are only 14 hoppers. Apparently
though, the Rondomatic hoppers (there are 28) are significantly larger. How
bad are they in terms of clogging up?"
I use the Rondomatic to dispense dry chemicals. Each hopper will safely hold
about 3/8 teaspoon. I say 'safely' because I've found that you have to be
somewhat meticulous about not spilling anything outside the hoppers. If you
do, the mechanism has a tendency to jam at the set point. Not a big deal if
you notice it, because you can spin the mechanism by hand and clear it up.
Mine has been in use several months now and is due for a good cleaning. I'll
try a can of compressed air on it.
The chemicals in the hopper will sometimes react with the air humidity and
form a solid crust that sometimes prevents it from dumping out. Stirring it
with a toothpick cures it. It's not as maintenance-free as I had expected,
but it's still better than dosing by hand each day. I have it set to dose
once a day. You can add more set points and dose several times a day if you
wish, which has the effect of increasing the volume you can dose each day.
But that also means that the number of days between refills is reduced
At present, I only dose a trace element powder and K2SO4 powder out of it.
Dosing NO3 out of it is dicey because once the hoppers are filled, you're
stuck with it unless you want to dump them and start over. I'm having better
results with NO3 by just feeding the fish anyway, but each tank will vary.
The amount of any PO4 bearing chemical that will be needed is so small that
it can be dosed by hand, probably weekly since it is so durable.