We stocked phase-III sunshine bass (white bass Morone chrysops ♀ × striped bass M. saxatilis ♂) at a rate of 6,188 fingerlings/ha into twelve 0.04-ha earthen ponds supplied with continuous aeration. Three dietary treatments were randomly assigned to quadruplicate ponds. Sunshine bass were fed to apparent satiation once daily after average initial weight (mean ± SE = 214 ± 5 g) and total length (245 ± 1.6 mm) were determined. Diets were formulated to conserve the estimated digestible energy:crude protein (CP) ratio (9.3 kcal/g protein) and represented the following CP and energy values fed to fish: 32% CP (3,000 kcal/kg), 36% CP (3,360 kcal/kg), and 40% CP (3,760 kcal/kg). Harvest data suggest that nutrient density is a variable that can be manipulated to optimize production and reduce production costs. Production rates (mean ± SE) were 2,851 ± 600 kg/ha for the 32%-CP diet, 2,895 ± 341 kg/ha for the 36%-CP diet, and 2,953 ± 142 kg/ha for the 40%-CP diet; production rates were not significantly different among dietary treatments. Survival was excellent and did not appear to be related to dietary treatment. Dressed (gilled and gutted) fish averaged 80% of whole-fish weight, and the dressed percentage did not vary as a function of nutrient density. Feed conversion ratios of 3.0 ± 0.4, 2.8 ± 0.2, and 2.6 ± 0.1 were obtained for the fish fed 32-, 36-, and 40%-CP diets, respectively. Protein conversion ratios (mean = 1.0) were not significantly influenced by dietary treatment. Feed cost increased with increasing dietary CP level; costs were US$0.447 per kilogram for the 32%-CP diet, $0.493 per kilogram for the 36%-CP diet, and $0.541 per kilogram for the 40%-CP diet. The resulting production costs attributable to feed were $1.34, $1.38, and $1.41 per kilogram of gain for the 32-, 36-, and 40%-CP diets, respectively. A savings of $0.16 per kilogram produced, or approximately $450 per hectare, was realized as a result of feeding either of the two lower-CP, lower-energy diets. Accordingly, we suggest that phase-III sunshine bass can be more economically produced by feeding diets as low as 32% CP with a minimum energy:protein ratio of 9.3 kcal/g CP.