Stationary visual census surveys were performed on an experimental artificial reef (21º29'S, 41º00'W) to clarify the role of structural complexity and benthic community as fish community modeling agents. Concrete modules of four types were grouped according to the combination of structural complexity through the presence/absence of holes and favourable/unfavourable surface for benthic colonization by anti-fouling painting. The survey (December 2002 to March 2003) showed higher abundance, richness and diversity in the complex modules. The same habitat usage pattern was observed according to vertical position and bottom type categories: demersal, hard-bottom and habitat generalist fishes preferred the complex ones. A higher number of juveniles occurred at those modules. It is assumed that trophic relationships and different habitat selection related to ontogenetic stages are also important modeling agents to the fish community structure since juvenile fish seem to actively seek the experimental complex modules.