When speaking of aquaponics, the most prevalent thought that comes to mind is that of backyard aquaponics. It is indeed the most prolifically practiced type of aquaponics. The people that practice aquaponics do so for many reasons, but at the heart of those reasons is quality food. The many “other” reasons are not really important as this one basic motive. They do however come into play when people begin experimenting and “tweaking” their backyard aquaponics systems. Some do that for better yield, others as a pass-time, and others still because they are looking for the best solutions.
Aquaponics kit – the easy way
Because aquaponics is slowly gaining momentum in several parts of the world, some enterprising people have begun manufacturing the relevant equipment. These are assembled in what is known as aquaponics kits. A variety of these aquaponics kits are available from such vendors, usually divided into beginner or starter aquaponics kits, family aquaponics kits, and some even offer commercial aquaponics kits. Each of these kits has the basic kit with extra pieces added to it to build up its yield capacity.
In order to start with a basic kit, several square meters may be required. Unless there is enough space indoors in the house one lives in, they are relegated to outdoor greenhouses. These are best known as backyard aquaponics systems.
Salvaged aquaponics – reuse, recycle, repurpose
Another very popular way to build a backyard aquaponics system is with salvaged materials. A little imagination goes a long way here and unsurprisingly, many people have met the challenge.
Because purchasing an aquaponics kit can be quite costly, many people simply opt to make good use of materials at hand by reusing, recycling, and repurposing what they can. It is quite common to see barrels cut lengthwise, feed troughs and water troughs, bathtubs, and all manner of items in a shoestring backyard aquaponics system. It may not look as pretty as a well-designed, sleek, ready-made aquaponics kit, but it certainly works just as well if set up correctly.
The difference between kits and salvaged systems
Apart from the obvious which is how they look, there are some marked differences, advantages, and disadvantages. Ready kits are specially designed, sourced in one place, do not require much planning, are ready and quick to assemble, and have ready-made calculations. This last advantage meaning that the system has been tried and tested. Perhaps the most important advantage is the support available from the vendor.
In contrast to these clear advantages, salvaged systems are more for the DIY aquaponics enthusiasts, experimenters, and shoestring market. This does not mean they are no good, quite the contrary, they can easily match ready kit systems, but, they require a learning curve in all aspects. This includes design, planning, sourcing, assembly, and of course, calculating the needs of the system. It is here where most inexperienced or very experienced aquaponists roam. The former is perhaps attempting to keep their outlay small and the latter, experiment and perhaps challenge themselves.
Backyard aquaponics – conclusion
Either system Aquaponics kits, or Salvaged aquaponics systems, will perform very well when set up correctly. Both need to have the same processes when it comes to maintaining them. Perhaps the only real difference is the depth of knowledge acquired by people starting out with a salvaged system. The reason for this is that they are building something out of bits and pieces requiring them to design, plan, and calculate.
An interesting point to make here is that once a backyard aquaponics system is producing at its maximum yield, simply copying it and doing exactly the same thing will produce double the yield a.s.o. This makes it perfect for people who have space, and wish to turn their backyard aquaponics into a family business.