The Septic Services Gazette

Your source for Septic Services news & events. You'll also find helpful articles as well as tips and suggestions for people that own septic systems.


Anaerobic vs Aerobic Bacteria

Categories: Article | Education


It’s the fight of the century. No, not Ali vs Frazier. It’s anaerobic vs aerobic bacteria and this fight will not be televised. Okay, it’s not even really a fight – just a comparison.

Let round 1 begin.

So let’s look first at bacteria. Well, we can’t really look at them directly. Since they are bacteria they are microscope. We’ll be comparing  two types of bacteria – anaerobic and aerobic.

Anaerobic Bacteria
Anaerobic means “without oxygen”. Anaerobic bacteria exist and grow in the absence of oxygen. And to be more specific, they exist in the absence of dissolved oxygen.

An important attribute of anaerobic bacteria when it comes to a septic system is that they consume organic material in your septic system. In fact, anaerobic bacteria will break down up to 70% of the solids that exist in your septic system. They are naturally occurring organisms. You don’t have to do anything to produce anaerobic bacteria in your septic system.

Aerobic Bacteria
You may have heard of aerobic exercise. Aerobic means “with oxygen”. So Aerobic bacteria grow and thrive when dissolved oxygen is present in the system.

Aerobic bacteria consume organic material too. But they also consume oxygen. They are also 50 times larger that anaerobic bacteria and they are more robust and effective in their work. Because of this, aerobic bacteria consume a whopping 98% of solids in the septic system. Aerobic bactria will also be effective in breaking down solids in your entire septic system including the tank absorption field and Biomat.

Unlike anaerobic bacteria, aerobic bacteria don’t occur naturally in the septic system. In order to produce this type of bacteria, oxygen needs to be introduced into the systems. This is typically done through a process called aeration. In aeration, an aerator or pump is used to introduce oxygen into your septic tank.

So in our fight of the century, the aerobic bacteria come out the clear winner.

Posted By: Mike • Posted On: July 29, 2014

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