First feeding success is critical to larval marine finfish and optimization of live feed densities is important for larval performance and the economics of commercial hatchery production. This study investigated various rotifer feeding regimes on the prey consumption, growth and survival of yellowtail kingfish Seriola lalandi larvae over the first 12 days post hatch (dph). The common practice of maintaining high densities of rotifers (10–30 ind. mL−1) in the rearing tank was compared to a low density feeding technique, where 5–8 ind. mL−1 of rotifers were offered. A ‘hybrid’ feeding regime offered rotifers at the high density treatment until 5 dph and the lower feeding densities thereafter. There was no significant difference in larval survival (hybrid: 28.9 ± 7%, low density: 17.3 ± 5% and high density: 17.2 ± 9%) or growth (hybrid: 6.12 ± 0.18 mm, low density: 6.03 ± 0.10 mm and high density: 6.11 ± 0.23 mm) between treatments. Rotifer ingestion was independent of rotifer density throughout the trial and increased with larval age, with larvae at 4 dph ingesting 22 ± 1.5 rotifers larvae−1 h−1 and by 11 dph ingesting 59 ± 1.6 rotifers larvae−1 h−1. These data demonstrate that from first feeding, yellowtail kingfish larvae are efficient at capturing prey at the densities presented here and consequently significant savings in rotifer production costs as well as other potential benefits such as facilitation of early weaning and improved rotifer nutritional value may be obtained by utilizing lower density rotifer feeding regimes.