High-relief structures may influence the abundance and diversity of reef-associated fish. We conducted a field experiment to investigate whether the presence of vertical structures (PVC pipes) affects fish communities on artificial reefs. The effect of the height of the structures (1 and 3 m) was also tested. Furthermore, the effects on fish of placing artificial reefs on otherwise featureless bottoms were quantified. Algal and macro-invertebrate colonization of the reefs was also recorded. The experiment was carried out on the west coast of Sweden over a period of 1 year. The vertical structures had a positive effect on fish abundance but not on diversity. The height of the structures did not, however, influence the fish communities. Natural as well as urban vertical structures on the seafloor could have a positive effect on local fish abundance. The positive effects of artificial reefs on total fish abundance and diversity were immediate. Of the 10 species recorded, two, the black goby Gobius niger and the goldsinny wrasse Ctenolabrus rupestris, dominated over the whole survey period. There were significant temporal differences in fish abundance, and diversity increased with time.