A study was conducted to determine the effect of dietary protein and lipid source on dorsal fin erosion in rainbow trout. Seven diets were each fed to four replicate lots of 300 first-feeding fry cultured in 75 1 aluminum troughs for 8 weeks. Two basal diets were manufactured with approximately equal nutrient content, one using krill and squid meals and the other anchovy meal as the primary protein-containing ingredients. The meals used to manufacture the diets were separated into two fractions: lipid (ether-extractable); and protein/ash (non-ether-extractable) using a large soxhlet. The fractions were then recombined to create two additional diets; one containing anchovy protein/ash with krill/squid lipid, the other krill/squid protein/ash with fish lipid. A fifth diet recombined krill/squid protein/ash with krill/squid lipid to evaluate effects of the extraction process. Two additional treatments included a diet with a portion of the krill meal replaced by poultry by-product meal, and the basal anchovy meal diet supplemented with sodium, magnesium, and copper. Fish consuming diets containing anchovy meal as the primary protein source gained more weight (P < 0.05) than fish consuming krill/squid meal-based diets. Dorsal fin index (DFI, measured as mean dorsal fin height x 100/total fish length) was greater (P < 0.05) for fish consuming diets containing krill/squid meal protein/ash fraction (DFI = 9.9%-10.0%) than for fish consuming diets containing anchovy meal protein/ash fraction (DFI = 4.9%-5.3%), regardless of lipid source. Supplementation of the anchovy meal diet with sodium, magnesium, and copper improved (P < 0.05) DFI by approximately 20%, but not to the level supported by the krill/squid meal protein/ash fraction diets. The cost of the krill meal diet was reduced by inclusion of poultry by-product meal without affecting dorsal fin condition. These data indicate that the dietary agent contributing to dorsal fin erosion in rainbow trout is not present in the ether-extractable fraction of the diet, but rather in the protein or mineral fraction.