Concentrations of metals cycle daily in the water column of some mining-impacted streams in the Rocky Mountains of the western USA. We hypothesized that biofilm in High Ore Creek, Montana, USA, sorbs and releases Zn on a diel cycle, and this uptake-and-release cycle controls the total and dissolved (0.45-μm filtered) Zn concentrations. We collected water samples from three sites (upstream, middle and downstream at 0, 350 and 650 m, respectively) along a 650-m reach of High Ore Creek during a 47-h period in August 2002 and from the upstream and downstream sites during a 24-h period in August 2003; we also collected biofilm samples at these sites. In 2002 and 2003, total and dissolved Zn concentrations did not exhibit a diel cycle at the upstream sampling site, which was ~30 m downstream from a settling pond through which the creek flows. However, total and dissolved Zn concentrations exhibited a diel cycle at the middle and downstream sampling sites, with the highest Zn concentrations occurring at dawn and the lowest Zn concentrations occurring during late afternoon (>2-fold range of concentrations at the downstream site). Based on (1) concentrations of Zn in biofilm at the three sites and (2) results of streamside experiments that demonstrated Zn uptake and release by naïve biofilm during the light and dark hours of a photocycle, respectively, we conclude that Zn uptake in photosynthetic biofilms could contribute a large percentage to the cycling of Zn concentrations in the water column in High Ore Creek.