Three 30-day experiments were conducted to evaluate decapsulated Artemia cysts with different quality (high or low hatch-rate) as food for tench (Tinca tinca L.) larvae from the onset of exogenous feeding. In experiment 1, three diets were tested: Artemia nauplii-only or cysts-only for 30 days, and nauplii for the first 7 days and cysts thereafter. The cysts used had 86% hatching rate (high hatch-rate cysts). The same feeding treatments were replicated in experiment 2 but with low hatch-rate cysts (10% hatching rate). In experiment 3, five diets were tested: high hatch-rate cysts only or low hatch-rate cysts only for 30 days, and nauplii for the first 7, 4 or 2 days and low hatch-rate cysts thereafter. In overall, survival was high, except with the low hatch-rate cysts only diet. Feeding tench larvae with cysts resulted in higher growth and lower FCR compared to feeding with live nauplii only. High hatch-rate Artemia cysts are a suitable food from the onset of exogenous feeding and low hatch-rate cysts can be successfully used after 2–7 days feeding on nauplii.