Some companies have bacteria “cocktails” but ATM packages them one by one. Is that just to have more products?
No. All beneficial bacteria for aquaria cannot be packaged together in a “one size fits all” format.
It is a great marketing ploy for many companies, but that’s as far as it goes. Aerobic autotrophs, the true nitrifying bacteria, are non spore-forming bacteria that are free living, although in a low metabolic state when packaged. The anaerobic and heterotroph bacteria that are regularly passed off as “nitrifying bacteria” are spore-forming bacteria that shield themselves in spores. To keep spore-forming bacteria in spores, special inhibitors are used to signal the bacteria that it is not safe to emerge from spore form. These inhibitors kill the aerobic autotroph non-spore forming bacteria almost on contact. This will result in a 100% loss of non spore-forming true nitrifying bacteria.
That is why they cannot be packaged together and why these products have a way of never really working out for anybody when it comes to establishing bio-filtration.
So now we know which genomes of bacteria are “true” and which are pretenders.
Now let’s address why freshwater and saltwater strains of nitrifying bacteria cannot be bottled together.
Obviously, one functions better in freshwater and one in saltwater; That is every function from eating to controlling metabolic efficiency. But let’s pretend that they could. ATM Colony would cost three times as much, because to cycle a 50 gallon freshwater or saltwater aquarium would require all of the bacteria necessary for each environment (saltwater requires twice the number of bacteria as freshwater).
But this would be impossible as well. Each shelf stable bottle of nitrifying bacteria is concentrated to the max as it is. To stuff any more bacteria into each respective sized bottle would require refrigeration. And a refrigerated nitrifying bacteria product, such as those that ATM distributes to large water and oceanic operations, has only half the shelf life as its shelf stable counterpart. Not practical for the retail market.