Although the practice of recreational feeding of fish by tourists is widespread within marine protected areas (MPAs), the ecological consequences of this activity have received little attention. This research aimed to investigate the influence of artificial feeding on reef fish communities of two Brazilian MPAs. Visual censuses were performed in areas not visited by tourists, in order to characterize the natural community structure of each reef system. In the Maracajaú reefs, the effect of artificial feeding was assessed below a moored floating dock found in the area. Stationary visual censuses were carried out before, during and after the fish feeding activity. In the Maragogi reefs, areas with presence and absence of tourism visitation were established. Transect methodology was employed in each of these areas. On both MPAs, fish feeding was a formal activity and occurred on a daily basis during the course of this study. Within the MPAs, 88 species belonging to 40 families were recorded. In Maracajaú, fish, shrimps and squids were provided by the tourists on the floating dock, which favoured mobile invertebrate feeders, whereas in Maragogi, animal ration and human food were used, causing aggregations of omnivores. Differences were observed in terms of abundance between before and after feeding in Maracajaú and between the control and impacted areas of Maragogi. The data are consistent with fish feeding leading to attraction of determined species, causing an increase in their abundance, also indicating that both the type of food and the extension of activity area are important factors determining the effects on fish communities.