This study compares growth, intake and retention efficiencies of nutrients and energy between common sole (Solea solea L.) fed ragworm (Nereis virens, Sars), blue mussel (Mytilus edulis L.) and an artificial (commercial) feed. Food types were fed to common sole (mean initial body weight: 44.9 ± 2.3 g) in excess three times a day over a 54-day-period. The growth rate in common sole fed the natural prey (8.5 g kg-0.8 d-1) was significantly higher compared to the growth rate in fish fed the artificial feed (5.1 g kg-0.8 d-1). Nutrient and energy intake was significantly lower in common sole fed the artificial feed than in fish fed natural prey. The only exception was fat intake which was higher in common sole fed the artificial feed in contrast to fish fed the natural prey. Nutrient and energy retention efficiencies were significantly lower in common sole fed the artificial feed than in fish fed the natural prey. In conclusion, the low growth in common sole fed the artificial feed was related to lower nutrient and energy intake as well as lower nutrient and energy retention efficiencies. It is suggested that reduced intake of the artificial feed might be related to the high dietary fat content of the artificial feed.