Sex steroid inhibitors were used to characterize the effects of 17beta-estradiol (E2) and testosterone (T) on the sexual growth dimorphism of Eurasian perch juveniles. In experiment 1, growth responses to different doses of either E2 (25, 50, 75, and 100 mgkg(diet)-1) or fadrozole (Fa; 50 and 100 mgkg(diet)-1) were compared in triplicate tanks of 30 fish each during 85 days. In experiment 2, five diets containing (50 mgkg(diet)-1) Tamoxifen (Ta), Flutamide (Flu), Fa, E2, and T were tested in triplicate tanks of 20 fish each during 90 days. Steroid supplementation or inhibition increased or decreased E2 and T plasma levels. Moreover, E2 treatment induced a higher plasma vitellogenin level but decreased triidothyronine levels. Brain aromatase activity (AA) was lower in Fa-treated fish than in other groups. In experiment 1, E2 supplementation did not promote growth, but high doses had negative effects as did Fa. In experiment 2, a greater growth response was observed only in E2-treated females in relation to higher food intake (FI) not feeding efficiency. Fa also promoted growth and FI both in females and males during the last month of the experiment. Other treatments did not affect growth, but T treatment decreased FI in males. In conclusion, the results did not provide clear evidence for E2 action on sexual growth dimorphism, but showed that testosterone may decrease growth in males by decreasing food intake in Eurasian perch. Therefore, the acceleration of male-to-female growth differences with age may not be a result of promotion of growth in females by estrogens, but a consequence of a reduction in growth by increased secretion of androgens in males.