In aquatic ecosystems several stressors may act together and affect the life traits of organisms. Pesticide runoffs are usually associated with high inputs of organic matter and depletion of oxygen in aquatic systems. This study aimed at combining anthropogenic stress (chemicals) and natural stress (food availability) and evaluates their joint effect to the life traits of Daphnia magna. The neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid and the heavy metal nickel chloride were used and a 21 d chronic test was carried out to obtain reproduction and growth data. The conceptual model Independent action, usually used for assessing response patterns in chemical mixtures, was used for data interpretation. Results showed an increase in the reproduction and growth pattern of D. magna as food levels increased. Both chemicals significantly impaired the reproduction as well as the somatic growth of the organism while the same happened with food concentrations lower than 3×10(5) cells/mL. It was also observed that food availability did not change the toxicity of imidacloprid and nickel chloride when food levels were higher than 3×10(5) cells/mL. When combined with low food levels, imidacloprid showed a slight increase in toxicity, showing that daphnids become more sensitive with reduced food availability, however in a non-significant way. However, toxicity of nickel appeared to be independent of the food level. Both chemicals induced mortality to the organisms exposed in the absence of food only at the end of the test.