© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd We determined the effect of four concentrations of dietary crude protein, 30.7, 37.2, 41.8 and 46.8% on growth rate, survival and body composition of the juvenile cauque river prawn (Macrobrachium americanum). The prawns were hatched in the laboratory from the spawn of one wild ovigerous female. Prawns consuming 37.2% crude protein reached a final weight of 0.58 g (feed conversion ratio of 2.15), which was significantly better than the other treatments. Survival was 100% in all treatments. Protein content in the diets had no significant effect on whole body proximate composition and amino acid profile. Juveniles consuming the 37.2% crude protein diet grew faster than those fed the other diets. Specific growth rate was adjusted to the two-slope broken-line regression analysis model to estimate the optimal protein requirement. In conclusion, these results demonstrated that the 37.2% protein level diet is optimal for juvenile cauque river prawn M. americanum in the experimental conditions of this study.