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Subject: Re: Automated feeders for behavioural research
From: Christian Holm <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 18 Jan 2000 16:18:56 -0000

text/plain (101 lines)

Hi Amanda,

your research sounds great (sort of the stuff I would like to do next).

I have run flume experiments at the Freshwater Fisheries Lab's facility at
Almondbank and fed my fish live bloodworms with the usual beltfeeder, using
the plastic lids of bottles as containers (with a lead pellet stuck to the
side to make sure they tip over, sink and dispose of their load once in the
water). I invented some "spoon" measure to get the same quantity every time
and filled this into the lids with some water. The lids fell into the flume
upstream of the separating grids so that they mixed int he water column
before getting to the fish (which were further kept away from the feeders
and screens by shiny white boards). (For a planview of the flume, although
feeder positions not shown, see

Hope this helps at all. Could you please send me any great ideas that others
give you about this since Paul Kemp is starting a follow-up on my Ph.D. and
we would be keen to improve things.


> ----------
> From:         Amanda Maclean[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Reply To:     Scientific forum on fish and fisheries
> Sent:         18 January 2000 15:16
> To:   [log in to unmask]
> Subject:      Automated feeders for behavioural research
> Dear all,
> I am looking for advice on the design of an automated feeder to dispense
> discrete prey items to Atlantic salmon parr in a flume tank. I and my
> colleagues have some ideas but rather than re-invent the wheel, we were
> wondering if anyone out there had already dealt with the same kind of
> problem. We are familiar with the type of automated feeders that supply
> pelleted food on fish-farms, but these would not be suitable for the
> purpose
> we have in mind (although they could possibly be adapted?). Because of the
> scale of the experiment (30 or more food patches must be supplied at the
> same time), it will not be possible to introduce food by hand and
> therefore
> the input of food must be automated (possibly, but not necessarily,
> involving computer control).
> Specific requirements for the feeder are:
> 1. It should dispense bloodworm (chironomid larvae), preferably live.
> 2. It should dispense several hundred prey items per day.
> 3. It must be possible to vary the rate of food output i.e. The number of
> items dispensed will be set at different levels from 1 to 60 per hour,
> with
> the number of prey dispensed at a given level varying by no more than 2 or
> 3
> items per hour, spaced as evenly as possible.
> In case you're wondering what all this is in aid of, I've just started a
> post-doc on the behavioural basis for population structuring, using
> Atlantic
> salmon parr. The work will involve developing an advanced Ideal Despotic
> Distribution computer model, incorporating data from experiments in the
> lab
> and the field. The experiments will involve recording the responses of
> fish
> to changes in food patch value and relating the responses to social rank -
> thus the need for feeders that will reliably deliver a known amount of
> food
> to a food patch.
> I'll be very grateful to anyone who can offer help and advice on this
> matter.
> Many thanks in advance,
> Amanda MacLean
> Fish Biology Group
> Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology
> Graham Kerr Building
> Glasgow University
> Glasgow G12 8QQ
> Scotland
> Tel 0141-330-5340 (within UK)
> Fax 0141-330-5971 (within UK)
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