The succession of biofilm communities with special emphasis on ciliates, rotifers, and nematodes was monitored for half a year and compared to different operating conditions in order to evaluate plant performance and effect of up-scaling lab scale to large scale reactors. Ciliates and metazoa are able to rapidly change their communities as a reaction to changed plant operating conditions as has been proven true by comparing lab scale and pilot scale reactors. Even slight operational changes are causing major shifts in biofilm communities. Nematodes and rotifers in lab scale and large scale reactors seem to be in competition with peritrich ciliates. In both lab scale and pilot scale systems ciliates of the subclass Peritrichia proved to be dominant and thus to play an important role in both the species composition of the biofilm biocenosis and biofilm structure. Interpretation of biocenosis composition changes for large scale reactors is much more complex than for lab scale reactors. This conflicts with up-scaling of lab scale results to full scale reactors.

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