High-fat diets may have favourable effects on growth of some carnivorous fish because of the protein-sparing effect of lipids, but high-fat diets also exert some negative impacts on flesh quality. The goal of the study was therefore to determine the effects of fat-enriched diets in juvenile grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) as a typical herbivorous fish on growth and possible lipid metabolism alterations. Three isonitrogenous diets containing 2, 6 or 10 % of a mixture of lard, maize oil and fish oil (1:1:1, by weight) were applied to fish for 8 weeks in a recirculation system. Data show that feeding diets with increasing lipid levels resulted in lowered feed intake, decreased growth and feed efficiency, and increased mesenteric fat tissue weight. Concomitantly, alteration of lipoprotein synthesis and greater level of lipid peroxidation were apparent in blood. In liver, muscle and mesenteric fat tissue, the percentages of α-linolenic acid and DHA were significantly increased or tended to increase with higher dietary lipid levels. Biochemical activity measurements performed on liver showed that, with the increase in dietary lipid level, there was a decrease in both mitochondrial and peroxisomal fatty acid oxidation capacities, which might contribute, at least in part, to the specific accumulation of α-linolenic acid and DHA into cells more active in membrane building. On the whole, grass carp have difficulty in energetically utilising excess dietary fat, especially when enriched in n-3 PUFA that are susceptible to peroxidation.