Different ration levels were used to determine the digestible methionine (DMet) and lysine (DLys) maintenance requirements and the utilization efficiencies for gain above maintenance for two different sizes of tilapia (20.7 and 165 g), by feeding a soybean meal–based diet. Protein gain and amino acid (AA) gain (e.g. methionine, Met; lysine, Lys; R2 = 0.98) were best-fit linear functions of DMet and DLys intake in both fish size classes. Slopes of these regression lines showed that the DMet utilization efficiencies for growth were 0.76 and 0.55 for juvenile and adult fish, respectively. The DMet maintenance requirements were 3.12 and 16.5 mg BW(kg)−0.7 day−1 for juvenile and adult fish, respectively. The DLys utilization efficiencies for gain were 0.72 and 0.52, whereas the DLys maintenance requirements were 16.9 and 68.8 mg BW (kg)−0.7 day−1, for juvenile and adult fish, respectively. These results suggested that there was an obvious difference in the maintenance requirements and utilization efficiencies for gain above maintenance for DMet and DLys in two different sizes of tilapia. The AA maintenance needs increased as fish increased in size, being greater in adult fish than in juvenile; however, the AA utilization efficiencies for gain above maintenance decreased with the increment of fish size.