In temperate shallow lakes, submerged macrophytes facilitate zooplankton development by providing refuge against fish predation and, thereby, indirectly contribute to maintaining a clear-water state through enhanced zooplankton grazing. The role of macrophytes for zooplankton and their grazing potential is less clear for tropical lakes. We investigated crustacean zooplankton in a phytoplankton-dominated basin (algal basin) and two restored basins dominated by macrophytes (macrophyte basins) in the shallow Huizhou West Lake in tropical southern China. We found that copepods prevailed in all basins, but the dominant taxon differed, with omnivorous cyclopoids dominating in the algal basin and herbivorous calanoids in the macrophyte basins. Moreover, the biomass ratios of calanoid:copepod and zooplankton:phytoplankton were higher in the macrophyte basins than in the algal basin. Our results suggest that restoration measures involving macrophyte transplantation and fish removal lead to reduced fish predation on zooplankton, which help to maintain the clear-water state when macrophytes are established due to higher control on phytoplankton. However, unlike in temperate lakes, large-bodied Daphnia were generally absent and the zooplankton:phytoplankton ratio was overall low, indicating a weaker top-down control in tropical lakes, which is likely due to higher fish predation.