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A 10-week feeding trial was carried out to investigate the effects of dietary fish meal replacement by yeast hydrolysate (YH) on growth performance, complement system and stress resistance of juvenile Jian carp (Cyprinus carpio var. Jian) (initial average weight 19.44 ± 0.06 g). In the study, there were five groups: one control group was fed with a basal diet (YH0), and four treatment groups were fed with dietary fish meal replaced by 1% YH (YH1), 3% (YH3), 5% (YH5) and 7% (YH7), respectively. Each group had four replicates. At the end of feeding trial, twelve fish from each group (three fish per replicate) were randomly selected for assessing the growth and immunity. Meanwhile, 20 fish per replicate were injected by Aeromonas hydrophila. The results showed that (1) Replacement levels of YH significantly affected the growth of the fish with the highest values of weight gain (WG) occurred in fish fed YH3 diet. However, no significant difference in feed conversion ratios (FCR) was observed among all groups. (2) Pre-stressed plasma lysozyme activity, total protein and albumin contents and complement component 3 (C3) and complement component 4 (C4) levels of fish fed YH3 diet were significantly higher than those of fish fed YH0 diet. However, post-stressed immune parameters of fish in all groups were significantly lower. (3) There was a trend that the expression levels of the complement-related genes (c1r/s-A, c4-1, c3-H1, c5-1, fb/c2-A, mbl-2 and masp) initially increased and then decreased except mbl-2 and masp, with the maximum values observed in fish fed YH3 diet. Before stress, the expression levels of the inflammation-related genes (alp, il-1β and tnf-α) in the hepatopancreas and spleen of fish fed YH1 diet and YH7 diet were significant higher than that of fish fed YH0 diet. After stress, no significant difference in the expression levels of those genes was observed among all groups. These results indicated that FM replacement by YH could improve growth performance, enhance innate immunity, and activate complement via the alternative complement pathway (ACP) and the classical complement pathway (CCP).Dietary YH improves the growth performance of juvenile Jian carp.Dietary YH enhances innate immunity of the fish.Dietary YH activates complement via the ACP and CCP.The optimum supplementation level of YH for the fish was estimated to be 37.5 g kg−1.Supplementation of YH improves the protection against Aeromonas hydrophila.