In this study, two laboratory-scale anaerobic batch reactors started up with different inoculum sludges and fed with the same synthetic wastewater were monitored in terms of performance and microbial community shift by denaturant gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting and subsequent cloning, sequencing analysis in order to reveal importance of initial quality of inoculum sludge for operation of anaerobic reactors. For this purpose, two different seed sludge were evaluated. In Reactor1 seeded with a sludge having less diverse microbial community (19 operational taxonomic unit (OTU's) for Bacterial and 8 OTU's for Archaeal community, respectively) and a methanogenic activity of 150 ml CH4 g TVS-1 day(-1), a chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency of 78.8 +/- A 4.17% was obtained at a substrate to microorganism (S/X) ratio of 0.38. On the other hand, Reactor2, seeded with a sludge having a much more diverse microbial community (24 OTU's for Bacterial and 9 OTU's for Archaeal communities, respectively) and a methanogenic activity, 450 ml CH4 g TVS-1 day(-1), operated in the same conditions showed a better start-up performance; a COD removal efficiency of over 98% at a S/X ratio of 0.53. Sequence analysis of Seed2 revealed the presence of diverse fermentative and syntrophic bacteria, whereas excised bands of Seed1 related to fermentative and sulfate/metal-reducing bacteria. This study revealed that a higher degree of bacterial diversity, especially the presence of syntrophic bacteria besides the abundance of key species such as methanogenic Archaea may play an important role in the performance of anaerobic reactors during the start-up period.