The effects of several dietary protein levels on the growth, feed conversion, body composition and diet digestibility of juvenile Lutjanus argentimaculatus (body weight 12.3 g) were examined. Seven isolipidic (7.4%) diets were formulated to contain graded levels of protein (28–58%) with dietary energy ranging from 19.7 to 21.5 kJ g−1. Diets were distributed to triplicate groups of fish thrice a day at ration of 2% body weight for 90 days. Growth, feed conversion, protein utilization and digestibility of nutrients increased with increasing dietary protein level up to 43%, after which no significant improvement was observed. Digestibility of dry matter and energy showed a concomitant increase with the reduction in dietary wheat meal, attaining maximal values with high protein diets. No significant differences were detected in moisture, protein, lipid and ash content of whole fish or body organs as dietary protein increased. The mesenteric fat, hepato- and viscerosomatic indices decreased with increasing protein level. The cholesterol, triglycerides and haematocrit values were similar among treatments, except that high levels of plasma lipids were recorded above 43% protein diet. The use of a practical diet containing 43% protein is appropriate for the growth of L. argentimaculatus juveniles under the experimental conditions of the present study.