A prototype automatic frozen fish food feeder dubbed the aF4 was first teased to the public by San Diego-based inD Creations in October of 2019. At the time, inD anticipated a release in 12 months, utilizing Kickstarter crowdfunding to support the project. As can often happen with ambitious creative projects and the invention of a new product, 2020 and 2021 came and went without the release of an automated frozen fish food feeder.
Aquarists were wondering what came of the aF4, but an email update revealed that a lot had been going on behind the scenes. Details were sparse, but one thing was very clear—the aF4 was completely redesigned.
Erik Hunter of inD Creations explained the recent news. “Our goal of this email was to let all our subscribers know that this product isn’t dead, in fact, quite the opposite. Our Kickstarter backers have been getting monthly updates on all the developments, changes, iterations, failures, and best of all—the successes.”
Details were intentionally limited in this initial update, says Hunter, with much more to come in the weeks ahead. Hunter shared that pre-orders for this finalized product design will start by mid-April, 2022, including an initial pre-order discount. inD is targeting the end of summer 2022 for shipping to start, with Kickstarter backers first-in-line to receive their aF4s.
At A Glance
The new website touts the aF4 as “The future of feeding your fish. Simple design; advanced fish feeding. Touch screen user interface & color display with remote mounting options. Place the aF4 anywhere within 6 feet of the desired feeding point. Mount the display and relax knowing your fish will be fed when you want, wherever you are.”
How it Works
The notion that you put the device up to 6 feet away from the aquarium was perplexing, particularly since the original prototype followed typical automatic fish food feeder designs that place the feeder above the water’s surface. Was inD simply talking about the placement of the display, or does the aF4 somehow magically catapult frozen fish food cubes with surprising accuracy into your reef tank after an initial user calibration?
“The food is in fact stored in slurry form utilizing a long-used method in the commercial fishing industry known as ‘Refrigerated Salt Water Storage’ or RSW,” explained Hunter. The new aF4 uses “a mixture of saltwater and fish food precisely cooled to a user-specified temperature between -1C and 5C. This mixture is stirred by running a large bore peristaltic pump in reverse periodically which agitates the slurry to keep the cooling uniform. Using this system we can keep [frozen food fresh] for at least 20 days in slurry form and dispense a user-specified volume of food at user-specified intervals.
“Freshwater aquarists are able to use the aF4 with RO water in lieu of salt water. In order to use RO water, users would adjust the temp of the unit above the freezing point to 1C or .5C. The overall temperature is adjustable between -2.5C and 5C.”
“We really, really like the catapult idea though,” joked Hunter.
aF4 Product Features
- Silent operation
- Automated unit maintenance controls
- 0-10v interface for linking up to your favorite aquarium controller
- User configurable alerts
- Color touchscreen user interface
- 14 cube capacity
- User configurable food temperature
- Specify days of feeding, and up to 6 feeds per day
- Manual feed button
aF4 Product Specifications
- aF4 Unit Dimensions: 4.25″ x 5.375″ x 6.375″
- aF4 Controller Dimensions: 4.25″ x .625″ x 2.625″
- Food Capacity: 110 mL
- Power Source: 12v DC (Suitable for 110v or 220v power source)
- Warranty: 12 months
Behind the scenes, inD Creations shared some additional details about the aF4, including videos of the new design in operation and pricing information, which will become available in the weeks ahead. If you don’t want to miss out, be sure to join the email list at https://www.indcreation.com/
See more at https://www.indcreation.com/af4info.