Originally Posted by Desert Pupfish
I used Stability when I set up my new tank, and it cycled in just over a week. So it worked for the cycle. (n of 1, I know) But after doing a lot of reading, many people said it was the best of the commercially available products, and my experience bore that out. We really need an aquarists' Consumer Reports that tests all these products head-to-head.....
What the Stability didn't do is prevent a huge green water algae outbreak, so I'm relying on API's Liquid Carbon (yes, they really call it that) to combat it in addition to reducing light & adding ferts for the plants since my tank cycled so well even nitrates are at zero. So it's back to the miracle snake oils to solve all my newbie problems. But at the end of the day, it's the overhyped marketing names, not so much the claims, that are the problem here IMHO.
If it helps at all, I've used nearly every line of plant supplements and major brands of bacteria suspensions in both home and work (R+D and retail curation) applications. In my experience, the major manufacturers of specific additives (Red Sea, Tropic Marin, Seachem, Brightwell, etc) but not generalists' (Tetra, API, etc) are effective when used as directed. By effective, I don't mean they'll prevent any and all issues like your green water, but they do perform as intended and can and do provide benefits. It's an unfortunate fact that product naming can be misleading; companies need to come up with unique names for trademark purposes. Marketing-wise, at least from a planted tank perspective, 90% of the additive market is the general consumer rather than the more serious and informed hobbyist like us here. Companies need to make names appealing for the consumer and simple enough that retail sales staff can sell them. I can't tell you how many times I was told to "dumb down" labels to make them more understandable for the general market. I guess that's what they got for having a scientist writing labels that both the average and informed hobbyist would get benefit from. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of BS in product claims and marketing; especially when it comes to companies that don't rigorously test their products. I know Red Sea, Tropic Marin, and Seachem have good labs so I tend to trust their claims above other brands'.
As far as your green water outbreak; I've found those to happen regardless of additives used. They usually happen after a significant disturbance to the system such as a major replanting and filter clean at the same time. I used to purposefully start GW outbreaks in displays before competitions as they tend to help get rid of nastier algae but don't cause the plants distress. Using a bacterial supplement post-major upheaval can help mitigate systemic issues, but none will 100% prevent them, in my experience.
But that wasn't the point, I already had a fully mature seeded filter fillted with bacteria I didn't add Stability to cycle, my filter was already cycled. I added it because there are some 'theories' that covering the substrate with bacteria particularly Seachem stuff may somehow prevent diatoms and algae in a newly established tank.
I've used bacterial suspensions in the substrate when starting tanks with mixed results. The premise of seeding substrates to help them mature quicker is sound, but I've still ended up with diatoms in a number of them; sometimes to a significant degree. Power Sand Special is the only amendment I've found that actually seemed to prevent initial substrate algae issues.