This review examines the nutritional factors that influence the growth and survival of larval bivalves. Factors considered include feed form (live phytoplankton, preserved phytoplankton and artificial feeds) and feed biochemical composition (protein, lipid, carbohydrate and essential fatty acids). These factors, as they relate to larval production, are discussed in terms of growth and survival rates. To facilitate comparisons among larval studies, growth rates and feeding rates are standardized to common units. In addition, the standardized results for larvae of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas Thunberg) are analysed using linear regression techniques to determine the strength of the correlations between daily doses of biochemical feed components and daily growth rates. Piecewise linear spline modelling is used to determine maximum effective dose response, the point where feeding additional biochemical components to the larvae yields no significant improvements in growth. Derived from these analyses are suggested daily rations of lipid, protein, carbohydrate, eicosapentanoic acid, docosahexanoic acid and energy for larvae of C. gigas.