The occurrence of cyanobacteria is particularly characteristic of shallow eutrophic waters, and they often form massive ‘blooms’ that can affect aquatic invertebrates and fish. However, even a low abundance of cyanobacteria can be hazardous to aquatic organisms, due to the production of toxic metabolites. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between cyanobacteria and their toxicity (biological activity) towards zooplankton and fish communities, when only low concentrations of cyanobacterial chlorophyll a (less than 20 μg L-1) are detected, i.e. in sub-bloom conditions. Measurements were performed in Sulejow Reservoir (Central Poland), a shallow, lowland, eutrophic reservoir, in which cyanobacterial blooms occur regularly. Fish were assessed using echo-sounding (distribution) and by gillnetting (species composition). Simultaneously, zooplankton, cyanobacteria and physico-chemical characteristics were studied at 14 stations situated along hydroacoustic transects. Parameters that characterized the cyanobacteria (cyanobacterial chlorophyll a concentration, the number of 16S rRNA and the mcyA gene copies and microcystin (MC) concentration) were consistently correlated (based on a principal component analysis), and the highest values were found in the downstream region of the study area. This ‘cyano-complex’ was also positively correlated with oxygen concentration, pH and phosphate levels, but was negatively correlated with temperature and the concentrations of nitrates and nitrites. In Sulejow Reservoir in 2013 the biomass of large zooplankton filter feeders decreased along with increasing MC concentration and fish densities, while small filter feeders did not present such relationships with regards to fish densities. Fish abundance tended to decrease at stations with a lower abundance of cyanobacteria and with growing toxic genotype copies and MC concentration.