Microcosm tests were conducted to investigate the effects of the estrogenic substances nonylphenol (NP) and 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE) on aquatic ecosystems. Maximum concentrations of 9 to 120 μg L—1 NP resp. 49 to 724 ng L—1 EE were induced by controlled release. The controlled release method allows the establishment of a continuous concentration course. The microcosms proved to run robustly with abiotic conditions close to natural. They developed biocenosis with similar characteristics as in natural ecosystems and, considering their given level of complexity, they can be used to describe possible risks for the environment. Both tested chemicals unveiled the potential to affect the plankton communities in the tested concentration range. NP exposure caused a reduction of Cladocera and Copepoda abundances and disturbed the phytoplankton structure. A NOECcommunity of 30 μg L—1 was calculated. In the first EE study, a flood in the lake where the microcosm water was collected caused additional stress and thereby a high variability, both between the microcosms and in each microcosm over time. Probably therefore the only effect found was a reduction of Copepoda abundance. In a second EE study Cladocera and Copepoda abundances were reduced, from which the phytoplankton benefited. Although a final interpretation is difficult for results of microcosm tests, there are indications that the found effects of EE and perhaps also NP may be caused at least partially by endocrine disruptive activity.