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Last update: April 7, 2021

Reviewed: Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder 3581 (It’s Awesome!)

Specifications

Model: 3581
Length: 5.51″ (140 mm)
Width: 2.36″ (60mm)
Height: 2.72″ (69mm)
Food Capacity: 3.38 fl oz (100 ml)
Power: 2 x AA Batteries


Automatic fish feeders are a handy tool that allow you to feed your fish while you are away from home.

Whether you are taking a vacation or just at work for the day, this handy little device can feed your fish without you being there.

There is no better automatic fish feeder than the Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder!

And, we should know because we tested all the popular automatic fish feeders on the market.

Want to know how the Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder stacks up against the competition? Check out our Best Automatic Fish Feeder guide. Spoiler… It beat them all!

What makes the Eheim feeder so great? Let’s find out together…

On with the review!

Like most automatic fish feeders on the market, Eheim uses a rotating container. When the pre-programmed feeding time rolls around, the drum rotates, and when it does, fish food is dispensed into your aquarium – all without any effort from you!

Eheim automatic fish feeder rotating flaked food into aquarium cover opening

This rotating design is common to all the automatic fish feeders we reviewed, although Eheim’s design is the most reliable.

And when paired with a fish feeding ring, you have the perfect setup for feeding your fish while you are away from home…

The automatic fish feeder dispenses the food into your aquarium, and the feeding ring stops the food from floating around your tank.

There is nothing complicated about this fish feeder, and it separates for easy cleaning. Simply wipe it down with a damp cloth.

Eheim battery operated auto fish feeder parts diagram

The container simply pulls off the unit and can be refilled in seconds…

Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder container filled with small pellet food

The container holds a generous portion of fish food (3.38 fl oz/100 ml), which is more than enough to keep our fish fed for weeks at a time.

And at the end of the container, you have a sliding opening that you can adjust according to how much fish food you want to dispense at a time.

The wider the opening, the more food that will be dispensed during each rotation – simple enough, right?

Dispenser opening on Eheim Automatic Everyday Fish Feeder

It takes some testing to determine how wide you need to make the opening of the dispenser. Adjust it until just a bit less is dispensed than you would normally feed your fish by hand.

Once you find the perfect setting, put a piece of tape over the slider. This will stop you from accidently moving it, especially when you refill it. And as you will soon see, this piece of tape has another use…

We tested the Eheim Automatic Fish Feeder with a variety of different fish foods. Here are the results:

Fish Food Usable?
Large Flakes Need to be crushed smaller
Small Flakes Yes
Large Pellets Yes
Small Pellets Yes
Micro Pellets Opening may need to be taped
Algae Wafers Small to medium only
Freeze-Dried Live Foods Yes

Not bad, huh? The Eheim feeder is capable of handling almost every kind of fish food you can throw at it.

Almost…

Larger-sized dried foods caused problems.

Big wafers, the type that you feed your pleco, were a no-go. These became stuck in the opening of the food container, blocking any food from coming out.

Same problem with larger flakes… However, these can easily be crushed to a smaller size.

Now, if you feed your fish micro pellets, such as betta food, you might find that the lowest setting on the dispenser is still too large. Fortunately, a minor modification is all that is needed to solve this problem – and it takes just seconds…

And, all you need is a piece of tape.

Eheim Everyday Automatic Fish Feeder with dispenser taped closed for micro pellets and betta food

By adjusting the position of the tape, you can make the smallest opening even smaller. On this tank, we halved the opening, allowing it to dispense the perfect amount of betta food for the fish.

Install the feeder any way you want!

You can install it in two different ways – hood or no hood, Eheim has you covered…

1. Standing on its feet

Thanks to carefully placed weights in the battery cover, the Eheim fish feeder can stand on its own, no matter how full the food container is.

Eheim Everyday Automatic Fish Feeder standing on hood of aquarium

Simply position the container over the opening and leave the fish feeder to work its magic.

Included in the box is a small square of adhesive Velcro that you can use to stop the fish feeder from moving around your hood.

No hood? Don’t worry!

Eheim has your back…

2. Clamped to the side of your aquarium

Also included in the box is a clamp that you can attach directly to the base of the Everyday Fish Feeder…

Eheim Automatic Fish Feeder clamped to side of glass aquarium

Simply hang the fish feeder over the glass edge of your aquarium, screw the clamp closed and you are good to go!

The clamp is sturdy enough to prevent you from accidentally bumping the fish feeder into your aquarium during water changes.

Just be mindful that adding the clamp changes the overall dimensions as you see in the diagram below…

Eheim everyday fish feeder wall clamp base diagram

Note: The above measurements do not include the glass thickness, which accounts for 3/16″ (5 mm).

If you use the clamp, mount the Eheim feeder away from any surface agitation that could cause water to splash into the container.

It has a built-in ventilation fan

At the rear of the unit, you will see a small red piece that almost looks like the wheel of a pirate’s ship…

Ventilation fan on rear of Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder

This is actually the ventilation fan.

Why does a fish food feeder need a fan?

To prevent moisture from building up inside the food container. If you’ve ever kept an open container in a humid environment, you will know all too well that fish food can become moist and clump together.

Well, the idea behind the ventilation fan is to prevent this very situation from occurring.

If you look at the diagram below, you see how the fan draws air in through the rear, causing it to flow through the control unit and over the food…

Eheim Everyday Automatic Fish Feeder fan and air movement diagram

I’m gonna level with you guys…

There are a lot of great reasons to love Eheim’s Everyday Fish Feeder, but this isn’t one of them.

You see, the fan only operates when the food container is turning, as it drops food into your aquarium. This entire process lasts less than 10 seconds.

While we understand this is done so that the fan doesn’t drain the battery, we did not see any noticeable difference to the moisture content of the fish food, especially when compared to other brands of automatic fish feeders that didn’t have a fan.

To us at least, this feature felt more like a gimmick than a practical solution to moisture problems. The Eheim Automatic Fish Feeder would be just as great without the ventilation fan.

Feed your fish how you want, when you want

At the top of the unit, you have the programmable control panel…

Eheim Everyday Automatic Fish Feeder programmable controller timer buttons

This is the brains behind the device, which tells the auto-feeder when to drop the fish food and how often.

You can program the Eheim Everyday feeder to dispense food up to four times a day. And each time, you can make the container spin once or twice, depending on how much food you want to dispense.

Oh, and you can bypass the timer altogether if you want. See the Eheim logo just above the display screen?

Well, that’s actually a button. And pressing it causes the container to spin once – allowing you to feed your fish outside the programmed food dispensing times.

Another helpful feature is the built-in memory. If you need to swap out the batteries, the controller remembers your timer settings for 10 seconds. It doesn’t seem like long, but this is more than enough time to swap the batteries out and replace the cover.

Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder with battery cover removed installing batteries

It’s thanks to this handy memory feature that you don’t have to reprogram the fish feeder every time you remove the batteries.

Speaking of batteries, we appreciate the fact that this device is battery-operated. It means that it can be positioned wherever without cords getting in the way. Not to mention that it’s one less thing to plug into an already overcrowded power strip.

Rechargeable batteries like these are your best friend… You will always have a fresh pair on hand.

Conclusion

What’s interesting is that Eheim has not changed the design of their automatic fish feeders in years. One of our testers bought his first Eheim fish feeder waaaaaay back in 2014. Four years later, it’s still going strong!

To quote his opinion…

“Eheim had the best automatic fish feeder on the market back then, and it’s the best automatic fish feeder right now.”

Eheim has taken an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, and that’s good! Even after all this time, nothing else compares.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 starfish. Highly recommended.

Do you use the Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder in your aquarium? Let me know in the comments below!

P.S., If you enjoyed our review, please consider purchasing this fish feeder through this link. By doing so, we make a few cents at no cost to you – it goes towards creating awesome reviews, like this one.

By Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.

Comments (18)

My aquarium doesn’t have a opening in its lid for food to come through. Would I still be able to use this fish feeder (or another one) without going through major difficulties with installing the feeder?
The tank that I have is the SuperFish Aqua 20 LED, for goldfish. I hope you can give me some advice.

Hi Kat,

I have no experience with the SuperFish range of tanks – It doesn’t look like it is sold in America. However, if it is a lid that is made from a single piece of plastic you can either remove the lid and mount the Eheim feeder on the wall of your tank. Alternatively, you could practice your DIY skills and cut an opening in the lid of your tank.

hello I bought a feeder and when I bought it worked and then I stored it away for about a year and I tried to get it back and running again but it does not turn automatically it only spins when the manual bottom is pressed, asking for what I can do to fix it and get it running again.

Hi Denis,

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of designs of feeders, if it doesn’t turn automatically, it sounds like an electrical or programming problem.

Hi Steve,

When programming, the arrows indicate the amount of time it turns. 1 arrow = 1 rotation, 2 arrow = 2 rotations. The rotations are a minute apart.

Ian,

I bought this fish feeder, it was one of only a couple different brands I saw at my local big box store. I’m new to aquariums, but know that my fish need to eat and I wanted to do it at consistent times. I work over 12 hour days for 3 or 4 days a week. Then I have travel time which adds an extra hour to my day. That’s 13+ hours away for me.

I found this was an easy to program (the instructions are plain as day) piece of equipment. I have set it to feed 3 times a day and each time to spin twice, for the fish that are slow to catch on that there’s food coming, and to allow food to make it to any bottom dwellers.

I found your review to be spot on in every way. I tested it long before I found your review and everything you say about the feeding slot is accurate. The pellets I used came out so fast that I felt as though it was going drag my fish to the bottom with the amount that fed through the slot (little bit of an exaggeration). You told me about taping the slot when I had asked a question about my cycle times for my new tank. I wasn’t sure how to tape it, then I found this review today. I’ve been using flake food (which does need to be broken down a bit before putting it in the chamber), I may continue to use it for the flake food and give pellets as a treat when I get home from work though. Not sure yet.

I wasn’t sure about the ventilation it has, I kind of questioned if it was working only when spinning or came on at random times, your review cleared that up.

All in all I love this feeder and I find that the fish are learning that when they hear the sound they know food is coming. Keep up the good work on the reviews. So far the three reviews you’ve done that are directly related to my equipment (feeder, gravel vacuum and air pump) are totally correct.

Ryan

Hi again, Ryan.

Wow, those are some long work days. Having been there myself, I really feel for you!

Thanks so much for sharing your opinions on the Eheim Feeder. I’m really happy that my testing reflected your real word experience. It’s feedback like this that inspires me to continue making these reviews!

Eheim instructions say explicitely “do no use rechargeable batteries”. Do you know why? Have you used rechargeable batteries for long enough to be confident it won’t harm the device?

Sincerely I can’t see the reason for that warning in the manual… I’d love to use rechargeable batteries.

Thanks,
Ruben

Hi Ruben,

It’s quite technical but the simple answer is that rechargeable batteries don’t supply the the same voltage.

Disposable AA batteries are 1.5v
Rechargeable AA batteries are 1.2v

Using rechargeable batteries won’t ruin your automatic fish feeder, but it may lead to the device not functioning properly. Given you are relying on this to feed your fish in your absence, it’s a risky game.

This is correct. I have put rechargables in the feeder and after few days it started blinking with LO battery which effectively shuts down the feeder “to avoid stopping in feeding position”.

I have programmed It For Just One Feed , But When The Time Has Lapsed , The Drum Does Not Turn, And I Cannot See Any Arrows On The Display ??

Hi George,

I am unsure if the USA version is the same as the UK version you have. In any case if you want technical support, you would be best off contacting the manufacturer. I just review products. Thanks!

Great review, definitely thinking of buying one in the next couple of days.
Could you please tell me if it would feed the fish up to six weeks.

Thanks robin

Hi Robin,

That entirely depends on your fish, the type of food you use and feeding schedule.

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