What exactly are bacteria? They are microscopic organisms of various shapes, constituting the smallest and most elemental form of plant life. They are almost everywhere in nature and multiply with remarkable rapidity. Bacteria consist of single cells with a nucleus and typically a tough cell wall. Inside the wall is the cell matter, which contains enzymes that help break down food for digestion and build cell parts. When food collides with the bacteria, the enzyme punctures the outer shell allowing the nucleus to enter the food source and devour it. An enzyme is the catalyst that allows the bacteria to function. Without one, the other would not exist.
Ponds naturally accumulate bacteria, also known as "Mother Nature's natural cleaning agent." Enzymes feed the indigenous bacteria by breaking down the organic contaminants. Water gardening bacteria is available in dry or liquid formulations and are made up of many different types of microbe spores. The dry form typically has a shelf life of two to four years and liquid generally has a two year shelf life. Liquid bacteria are more complex blends of bacteria with active cultures in the bottle while dry bacteria being less expensive and only have three to four strains of dormant cultures freeze-dried on a carrier of either finely ground barley or bran.