Sensory modulation is essential for animal sensations, behaviours and survival. Peripheral modulations of nociceptive sensations and aversive behaviours are poorly understood. Here we identify a biased cross-inhibitory neural circuit between ASH and ASI sensory neurons. This inhibition is essential to drive normal adaptive avoidance of a CuSO4 (Cu(2+)) challenge in Caenorhabditis elegans. In the circuit, ASHs respond to Cu(2+) robustly and suppress ASIs via electro-synaptically exciting octopaminergic RIC interneurons, which release octopamine (OA), and neuroendocrinally inhibit ASI by acting on the SER-3 receptor. In addition, ASIs sense Cu(2+) and permit a rapid onset of Cu(2+)-evoked responses in Cu(2+)-sensitive ADF neurons via neuropeptides possibly, to inhibit ASHs. ADFs function as interneurons to mediate ASI inhibition of ASHs by releasing serotonin (5-HT) that binds with the SER-5 receptor on ASHs. This elaborate modulation among sensory neurons via reciprocal inhibition fine-tunes the nociception and avoidance behaviour.