Dietary phosphoglycerides and n-3 long-chain PUFA (LC-PUFA) play important functions in the development of pikeperch (Sander lucioperca) larvae. This study aimed to determine optimal dietary levels of soyabean lecithin (SBL)-derived phospholipids (PL) in starter feeds for pikeperch larvae 10–30 d post-hatch (DPH) and examine performance and ontogeny by additional supplementation of n-3 LC-PUFA in the form of Algatrium DHA 70 (glyceride product; 660–700 mg/g DHA; EPA 60–75 mg/g). In total, six isoproteic and isoenergetic extruded diets were formulated with increasing levels of PL (3·7, 8·3 or 14·5 % wet weight (w.w.), respectively); however, three of the diets were supplemented with three levels of Algatrium DHA 70 (0·6, 2·0 or 3·4 %, respectively). Liver proteomic analyses of larvae at 30 DPH were included for effects of PL and primarily DHA on performance, physiological expression and interactions in larval proteins. In addition, bone anomalies, digestive enzymatic activity, candidate gene expression and skeleton morphogenesis were examined. Results confirmed the importance of dietary PL levels of at least 8·2 % w.w., and an additional beneficiary effect of supplementation with DHA plus EPA. Thus, combined supplementation of SBL (up to 14·51 % w.w. PL) and n-3 LC-PUFA (1·004 % DM DHA and 0·169 % DM EPA) in the form of TAG resulted in highest growth and lowest incidence of anomalies, improved digestive enzyme activity and had differential effect on liver proteomics. The results denote that essential fatty acids can be supplemented as TAG to have beneficial effects in pikeperch larvae development.