An anaerobic filter (AF) and a downflow stationary fixed film (DSFF) reactor were used for the treatment of a tuna processing wastewater. Start-up of the anaerobic reactors was improved using lactose as co-substrate. The AF removed up to 75% of the influent COD concentrations at organic loading rates (OLR) of 11-13 kg COD m−3 d−1, whereas the DSFF reactor removed 70% at 3 kg COD m−3 d−1.

Based on these results it appears that anaerobic treatment systems are applicable to tuna processing industry wastewaters and that the AF shows a much better performance, allowing higher organic loadings and COD removal efficiencies than the DSFF reactor.