The microbial composition of acid streamers (macroscopic biofilms) in acidic, metal-rich waters in two locations (an abandoned copper mine and a chalybeate spa) in north Wales was studied using cultivation-based and biomolecular techniques. Known chemolithotrophic and heterotrophic acidophiles were readily isolated from disrupted streamers, but they accounted for only <1 to 7% of the total microorganisms present. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) revealed that 80 to 90% of the microbes in both types of streamers were beta-Proteobacteria. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the streamers suggested that a single bacterial species was dominant in the copper mine streamers, while two distinct bacteria (one of which was identical to the bacterium found in the copper mine streamers) accounted for about 90% of the streamers in the spa water. 16S rRNA gene clone libraries showed that the beta-proteobacterium found in both locations was closely related to a clone detected previously in acid mine drainage in California and that its closest characterized relatives were neutrophilic ammonium oxidizers. Using a modified isolation technique, this bacterium was isolated from the copper mine streamers and shown to be a novel acidophilic autotrophic iron oxidizer. The beta-proteobacterium found only in the spa streamers was closely related to the neutrophilic iron oxidizer Gallionella ferruginea. FISH analysis using oligonucleotide probes that targeted the two beta-proteobacteria confirmed that the biodiversity of the streamers in both locations was very limited. The microbial compositions of the acid streamers found at the two north Wales sites are very different from the microbial compositions of the previously described acid streamers found at Iron Mountain, California, and the Rio Tinto, Spain.