Complex particles (CP), zein microbound particles and lipid-spray beads (LSB) were prepared and their performances were compared for delivering glycine and a mixture of free amino acids (FAA; alanine, glycine, leucine, serine and tyrosine) to early fish larvae. Measures of performances of microparticles included inclusion, encapsulation, retention and delivery efficiencies in addition to T50 ( time to 50% retention) values. CP were prepared containing LSB and a defined dietary mixture that were bound together with zein. CP had significantly higher retention and delivery efficiencies for FAA compared to those of zein microbound particles. Free LSB had higher retention efficiencies for particulate glycine compared with CP, possibly due to differences in suspension characteristics. Free LSB clumped and floated when suspended in water, negatively afecting their acceptability by fish larvae; therefore, LSB should be incorporated into CP for more effective delivery of amino acids. There was a significant inverse correlation between retention efficiencies and solubilities of FAA encapsulated in CP. After 1 h of aqueous suspension, highest retention (44%) and delivery efficiencies (20.3 mg tyrosine g(-1) particle) were achieved with tyrosine. T50 values indicated 50% of the initial tyrosine in CP was still available after 36.7 min of suspension in water. Furthermore, CP can deliver FAA to marine fish larvae based on the results of feeding studies in which CP were digested by 3-day-old clown fish larvae; therefore, this particle type could be a valuable tool in studies of larval fish nutrition.