The performance of fluidized bed nitrification filters charged with 2 ?? 4 ABS plastic beads (specific gravity 1.06) was evaluated. Three unique bed-height to diameter ratios were established, in triplicate, using column diameters of 12.7, 15.2 and 17.8 cm. Filters received water spiked with recycled nutrients and ammonia (TAN), from one of the three 500 1 feed tank system. With daily ammonia loading fixed at 8.6 g per system, TAN removal increased with column diameter at each of four tests hydraulic loading rates (6, 8, 10 and 12 Lpm). TAN in recirculated water (influent) rose from 0.5 to 1.0 mg/1 as ammonia loading increased from 180 mg/m2-day to 360 mg/m2-day. When hydraulic loading was fixed at 12 Lpm, TAN removal (%) was maximized with ammonia loadings ranging from 225 to 270 mg/m2-day. Biofilm thickness increased with ammonia loading, but decreased with increased hydraulic loading rates. Fluidized beds of ABS plastic beads were effective in reducing energy costs (head loss) of water treatment. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.