What’s the difference between Seachem Pristine and Seachem Stability?


If you’re in a fish store or browsing online, you are bound to come across quite a few different bacterial additives to help get rid of new tank syndrome or to help clear up a dirty aquarium. There are many different products to chose from and some that work better than others.

Seachem is one of the product’s we’ve turned to with great success over the years and even looking at their catalog, you’ll come across a few bacterial supplements, including Seachem Pristine and Seachem Stability. Any you’re probably wondering, what is the difference between Pristine and Stability?

Not all forms of bacteria are created equal. The beneficial bacteria that we want in an aquarium are essential to helping with breaking down organic waste via the nitrogen cycle where nitrifying bacteria turn ammonia to nitrites and then denitrifying bacteria turn nitrites into nitrates and eventually allow them to be absorbed into plants or released as nitrogen.

Seachem Stability helps establish this basic beneficial bacterial in your aquarium to help safely establish your biofilter and prevent new tank syndrome. This is where the fish waste can’t be broken down resulting in a toxic increase in ammonia. According to the product description, “…Stability is formulated specifically for the aquarium and contains a synergistic blend of aerobic, anaerobic, and facultative bacteria which facilitate the breakdown of waste organics, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.”

Now if you quickly glance at the label for Seachem Pristine, you might think this does the same thing. This is what the label says, “…Pristine uses bio-augmentation, a non-chemical and natural method, to improve water quality. It provides bacteria that break down excess food, waste and detritus in freshwater and marine systems. It will also reduce excess nutrients (e.g. ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites) that may fuel the growth of nuisance and disease-causing organisms.”

Sounds pretty similar? Maybe Pristine sounds a little hardier, right? Pretty much so. The bacterial strains are vastly different and Pristine is designed to help get rid of a wide range of organic compounds, including things like fats that can cause those oil slick looking films you tend to get on the surface of the aquarium.

Plus, Pristine differs from traditional nitrifying bacteria in that it can do its job in pretty harsh conditions where there is so much junk in the water where there is a low amount of oxygen. It can actually thrive and multiply in these conditions to improve water conditions and clarity.

So we should just beat the nasties to the punch and grab a bottle of Pristine, right? Probably not. Working with both on a regular basis will help provide a bacterial one-two punch. Even the best in the hobby can suffer instances where these can come in handy.

Starting with Stability is a great way to establish a stable biofilter for your aquarium, but good husbandry (not over feeding, not overstocking or quickly stocking with fish, doing regular water changes, cleaning, etc.) will go a long way. Plus the bacteria in Seachem Stability are best suited for consuming dissolved organic matter — the stuff you can’t see with your eyes.

But even the best of us can find times where uneaten food, excessive fish waste and other issues pop up causing solid organic matter to build up like bio-film, detritus, and sludge. The bacteria in Seachem Pristine can help break this down and Stability can help, to form a pretty formidable team to keep your tank clean.

Even if you have a pretty clean aquarium and are on it, you can help stay ahead of issues by regularly dosing both Seachem Stability and Seachem Pristine without harming your aquarium inhabitants.