An 8-week feeding trial was conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary tryptophan concentration on weight gain and feed efficiencies of fingerling Indian major carp, Cirrhinus mrigala. Six isonitrogenous (40% crude protein) and isocaloric (17.90 kJ g−1) amino acid test diets containing casein, gelatin and l-crystalline amino acids with graded levels of l-tryptophan (0.06, 0.16, 0.26, 0.36, 0.46 and 0.56 g 100 g−1 dry diet) were formulated. Fish (4.25±0.30 cm, 0.62±0.02 g) were randomly stocked in triplicate groups in 70 L (water volume 55 L) flow-through (1–1.5 L min−1) indoor circular tanks and fed experimental diets at 5% of their body weight/day in two feedings at 08:00 and 16:00 hours. Maximum live weight gain (277%), lowest feed conversion ratio (FCR) (1.50) and highest protein efficiency ratio (PER) (1.66) were measured at 0.36% dietary tryptophan. The relationship between dietary tryptophan levels and weight gain, FCR and PER data were described using second-degree polynomial regression analysis indicating the tryptophan requirement at 0.42, 0.39 and 0.38 g 100 g−1 of dry diet respectively. Whole body moisture decreased with increasing tryptophan up to 0.36%. Significantly (P<0.05) higher protein content was evident in fish fed diet containing 0.36% tryptophan. Body fat increased significantly (P<0.05) in fish fed with different tryptophan concentrations except those fed 0.36% tryptophan where a significantly lower fat content was noted. Significantly (P<0.05) higher ash content was reported at 0.06% and 0.16% tryptophan levels. Survival was 100% in fish fed all the diets except those fed 0.06% tryptophan. Based on the results, diets for fingerling C. mrigala should contain tryptophan at 0.38 g 100 g−1 dry diet, corresponding to 0.95 g 100 g−1 dietary protein for optimum growth and efficient feed utilization.