The Plank Automatic Feeder is an interesting new take on this type of device from a company known for spicing up product categories. Avast Marine designs and builds things a little different from the rest like their KalkReactor, Vibe zeolite reactor, Barrel Tender and their Plank Auto Feeder continues this general trend.
In contrast to most of the Avast Marine products built from acrylic, the Plank Auto Feeder is made almost entirely of 3D printed parts. Besides the internal motor and wiring, only the two acrylic endcaps, every part of the main body of the plank is built from additive manufacturing processes.
Besides the general construction of the Plank Auto Feeder, what makes this device so unique is that instead of using a hopper style design to ‘dump’ food into the tank, the Plank uses an auger type screw to slowly dispense food. There are no controls for the Plank and instead Avast marine passes on this function to a 3rd party controllable outlet either from an aquarium controller or a better option is any number of cheap and easy to use wifi controllable outlets.
The aquarium mounting portion of the plank is also 3D constructed and includes a perhaps, over-engineered food and water mixing section consisting of a pump and more 3D printed parts to thoroughly direct food into the aquarium. Most auto-feeders rely on a simple floating, feeding ring or just a tube to keep floating foods from drifting into the surface skimming overflow.
This mixing tube portion of the Plank Auto Feeder seems like it should be an add-on accessory as we have employed the Plank Feeder a little differently, opting instead to dispense directly into the return pump. In this manner we are able to feed several tanks that are supplied by the return pump to both mix and hydrate the food and provide food to many fish using only one feeder.
We’re still fine tuning the timing of Plank, and which kinds of foods work best for a one-minute interval. Since the Plank is 3D printed, it would be practical to have several screw size options to optimize which kinds of foods and how quickly they are dispensed from the Plank Auto Feeder. We will continue to use and test out this new style of automatic fish feeder from Avast marine and report back on how this setup is working out in a future, thorough review of the Plank Feeder.