HI apple, I'm a newbie but I have used both the API liquid and strips, and the liquid is far superior for testing. Accurate results, with no running colors.
Stress Zyme is worthless. Absolutely thumbs down. It populates your tank with short-lived bacteria that quickly die, leaving your tank uncycled and toxic. Before dying, it also outcompetes the natural bacteria that you NEED to grow, meaning it is worse than useless.
I have liked the test kits, and I use leafzone for now until I go to using dry fertz.
Leaf zone +1
Liquid test kits +1
Coat +1(if you don't have access to Prime or Amquel)
I like the test kits, leaf zone and general cure. Haven't ever used stress coat or zyme.
I have the test kits, both strip and liquid, never used any of the others
I used the strips, and never had any problems (some will say they're not accurate, but how accurate do I really need it to be when all I need to know is if I need to do an extra water change?)
I use the liquid tests now, they're a pain in my neck but supposedly they work better
I use stress coat all the time, I love the stuff, works quite well for me; although had some difficulty dosing very tiny tanks.
a lot of their other chemicals I find unnecessary except in the most extreme of situations, in which case I'll usually pick the cheaper brand.
As far as stress coat, it's a great product if you're in a situation where you need just a dechlorinator/ heavy metal remover (i.e. using TSS/ Nite-out II). But for long term weekly use in conjunction with water changes, you get more bang for your buck with SeaChem's Prime.
The StressZyme is an excellent, but misunderstood, product. The StressZyme is meant to be used as a biological tank cleaner not a tank cycling product. The StressZyme eats the poo and decomposing food waste in the substrate to ease the load on the filter bacteria. Not really a product you need to use if you're doing good weekly maintenance. On a starting-up tank or in the event of an ammonia/ nitrite spike it will accelerate the cycle because it allows the beneficial filter bacteria to focus on the actual fish bioload without being overwhelmed by extra stuff going on in the tank. Again...it's not intended for use as a stand alone product to cycle a tank.
API Master test kit is a must have. No exceptions. Gotta have it.
I've never used any of their plant products, but do plan on trying the leaf zone for my 55G.
Awesome... Thank you all for your replies... as you can tell I am pretty new here... but have been in the hobby for six years! So as I learn more and more about fish(who doesn't?), I will be posting more questions like this!!!
I swear by the API master test kit (liquid) so that gets a
I have no need for the other API products, so have no opinion on them.
Forgot to mention a side benefit of the StressZyme.
Because it only focuses on the waste in the substrate, it has the secondary benefit of being a fairly good fertilization product itself as it allows the plants to more rapidly absorb the nutrients from the waste than if it was left to breakdown on its own or get vacuumed out every week.
Again, a veeeery misunderstood product.
I don't have heavily planted tanks or high demand plants in my tanks, so I usually only use the StressZyme in emergency/ fresh start situations, but my plants always look healthier a few days after dosing with StressZyme.
I will confess though that there have been a few weekends where I felt a bit lazy, or had to work, and substituted the StressZyme for the weekly vacuum >.