Competition and colonization are two mechanisms that are important for determining coexistence and species diversity in spatially structured habitats. However, these mechanisms may not be independent as species can exhibit behavioral or physiological changes in response to competition that alters their colonization rates. This study examines the effect of interspecific interactions on the colonization rates of four microscopic species (three ciliates and a rotifer) in aquatic microcosms. Two species showed significant reductions in the time to colonize patches when confronted with a competitor, one was a good disperser (Colpidium striatum) and the other was the slowest disperser (Philodina spp.). These results indicate that species’ colonization rates in a metacommunity can vary depending on the presence of competitors. Thus, we suggest that predictions based on heuristic tradeoffs between competition and colonization should consider effects of common biotic interactions such as competition.