Research to Business
Offer: 538

Fishes Feed Themselves

A Feeding Machine with Sensor Reduces Costs and Expenditure for the Cultivation of Small Fishes

Zebra fish quickly learn to operate the automatic feeding system. The fish, which are only about three centimetres in size, are very popular with biologists because they are robust and reproduce quickly.

This is the dream of every aquarium owner: Fishes that are always supplied with feedstuff, even during holidays. Automatic feeding also reduces the workload of laboratory staff, because they are no longer required to go to the laboratory on the weekend in order to refill the supplies.

The KIT Institute of Toxicology and Genetics (ITG) runs several thousands of aquariums containing about ten to twenty fishes each. All these fishes have to be fed several times daily. Of course, the KIT staff may throw feedstuff flakes into each aquarium as it is done by aquarium owners at home. Manual feeding, however, is always associated with the risk of too little or too much feedstuff entering the aquarium. Overdosage of feedstuff reduces water quality and the cleaning expenditure of the aquariums increases. If the supply of feedstuff is too small, fish reproduction is slowed down. Feeding machines available on the market are either designed for relatively big species at fish farms or rather expensive.

Scientists of the Institute of Toxicology and Genetics (ITG) have therefore developed a feeding system for use in some of their aquariums. The fishes decide when and how much they feed. If a fish swims into a certain area of the aquarium, it activates a sensor that causes feedstuff to be dispensed. Biologists observed that the fishes learn how to operate the feeding system within a few days and that they only request as much feedstuff as they require.

The system reduces the Institute's expenses for fish cultivation: It saves personnel costs, reduces the cleaning expenditure of the aquariums, and frequently also reduces the feedstuff expenses. The feeding system is compact, technically simple, and, hence, inexpensive. It can be applied in private aquariums, by pet shops, and large fish farms.

The KIT looks for partners to commercialize the system as a series product.

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Your contact person for this offer

Dagmar Vössing, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Head of Technology Transfer, Innovation and Relations Management (IRM)
Phone: +49 721 608-25582

Email: dagmar.voessing@kit.edu

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