It's not artificial at all! It's actual, live bacteria. Nothing artificial
about it. Have you read their papers?
Yes, I've read their papers.
But there's no way I would spend money on this stuff. It's just a bottled
version of mulm from an established tank. There's no way it can have the
natural variety and diversity of the bacteria from a real tank.
There's some evidence that different species of bacteria serve as biological
filters in fishtanks, depending on water parameters such as hardness, pH,
temperature, etc. That's why mulm from a local tank, especially your own, is
best, since presumably the water conditions would be similar.
If I didn't have an established tank handy, I might shell out for something
like Bio-spira. But why would I, when I have all the bacteria I need, free in
my own tank? It's not like Bio-spira is some kind of super-powered bacteria.
At best, it's just like the stuff you already have in your established tank.
Convenient, if you don't have the real thing, but not better.