Turbot were reared from yolk sack larvae to juvenile in an outdoor semi-intensive system. Three production cycles were monitored from May to September. A pelagic food chain was established with phytoplankton, copepods and turbot larvae. Abiotic and biotic parameters of lower trophic levels together with turbot larval survival, development, prey electivity and growth were monitored. A decreasing larval survival from 18.4% in May to 13.6% in July and just 7.0% in September was observed. The overall phytoplankton and copepod abundance decreased during the productive season. The turbot larval growth showed significant differences between larvae below (isometric) and above (allometric) 7 mm. Larval fish gut content showed no differences with available prey between production cycles. Therefore, it appears that the available prey concentration is governing their growth in this outdoor system. First-feeding turbot larvae exhibited active selection for nauplii whereas developed larvae switched to copepodites and adult copepods. Although developing turbot larva exhibited active selection towards copepod size classes, there was no evidence of selective feeding on either of the two dominant copepod species. The turbot larvae's prey ingestion was modelled together with the standing stock of copepod biomass. The model results indicated that the estimated need for daily ingestion exceeded the standing stock of copepods. Hence, the initially established food web was unable to sustain the added turbot larvae with starvation as a consequence. We therefore suggest several solutions to circumvent starvation in the semi-intensive system.