Mineralization of organic matter in aquatic ecosystems with shallow waters occurs to a large extent in their sediments under anoxic conditions. This is achieved by a community of bacteria, which are the catalysts in a sequence of processes. Of the two possible terminal processes, methanogenesis and sulphate reduction, the first usually dominates in freshwater systems, whereas in estuarine and marine sediments electrons are mainly channelled to sulphate. Interactions between sulphate-reducing and methanogenic bacteria are described. Sulphate-reducing bacteria also show interactions with fermentative bacteria. After a brief description of properties of sulphate-reducing and fermentative bacteria occurring in sediments, examples are given of interactions between them. This is followed by the presentation of some results obtained from studies on competition for L-lactate between organisms belonging to both groups. It is shown that sulphate-reducing bacteria could successfully compete for L-lactate when this was available in growth-limiting amounts with sufficient sulphate and iron. Finally, a brief discussion is given of ecological niches of sulphide-oxidizing bacteria thriving in the upper sediment layers.