Mandarin fish (Siniperca chuatsi
) is a kind of carnivorous fish that feeds on live prey fish. Recent research has shown that it could be domesticated by artificial diet. However, the effects of artificial diet feeding after domestication on the nutritional value and flesh quality were lacking. The present study compared nutritional composition, amino acid component and its nutritional evaluation, fatty acid profiles, and texture properties between mandarin fish fed with live prey fish and artificial diet. The results showed that no significant differences were observed in the protein levels of the two groups, while the lipid levels were significantly higher in fish fed the artificial diet (P
<0.05). The amino acid score (AAS), chemical score (CS), essential amino acid index (EAAI) and F
value did not vary between groups. However, Met+Cys were both the first-limiting amino acids in mandarin fish under the two feeding modes, which could provide information to improve diet formulation. The levels of unsaturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) were extremely significantly higher in mandarin fish fed an artificial diet (P
<0.01), especially for the levels of C20﹕5 (EPA) and C22﹕6 (DHA), which indicated that artificial diet feeding could provide better fatty acid profiles than live prey fish by balanced diet formulation. The firmness, chewiness, gumminess, and resilience in the muscle of mandarin fish fed with artificial diet were extremely higher than the live prey fish group (P
<0.01), whereas the stickiness showed the opposite levels (P
<0.01), suggesting the improvement on texture of flesh quality. Overall, we found no variations in protein levels and amino acid evaluations in mandarin fish fed the artificial diet, but the fatty acid profiles showed superior results as indicated by higher levels of EPA and DHA. Therefore, our findings evaluated the flesh quality properties of mandarin fish by feeding an artificial diet, showing the potential of the use of an artificial diet in mandarin fish and the sustainable development of its industry.