Copper oxide (CuO) has various applications, as highlighted by the incorporation of this compound as a biocide of antifouling paints for coating ships and offshore oil platforms. The objective of this study was to evaluate and compare the aquatic toxicity of CuO nanoparticles (NPs) and microparticles (MPs) through acute and chronic toxicity tests with the freshwater microcrustacean Daphnia magna and an acute toxicity test with the bioluminescent marine bacteria Vibrio fischeri. Acute toxicity results for D. magna in tests with CuO NPs (EC50, 48 h=22 mg L(-1)) were ten times higher than those for tests with CuO MPs (EC50, 48 h=223.6 mg L(-1)). In both periods of exposure of V. fischeri, the CuO NPs (EC50, 15m 248±56.39 - equivalent to 12.40%; EC50, 30 m 257.6±30.8 mg L(-1) - equivalent to 12.88%) were more toxic than the CuO MPs (EC50, 15m 2404.6±277.4 - equivalent to 60.10%; EC50, 30 m 1472.9±244.7 mg L(-1) - equivalent to 36.82%). In chronic toxicity tests, both forms of CuO showed significant effects (p<0.05) on the growth and reproduction parameters of the D. magna relative to the control. Additionally, morphological changes, such as lack of apical spine development and malformed carapaces in D. magna, were observed for organisms after the chronic test. The toxicity results demonstrate that CuO NPs have a higher level of toxicity than CuO MPs, emphasizing the need for comparative toxicological studies to correctly classify these two forms of CuO with identical CAS registration numbers.