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It is similar in shape to the piranha and is sometimes confused with the carnivorous fish; the tambaqui is tall and laterally compressed with large eyes and a slightly arched back. Body color is basic black to gray with spots and blemishes in its midbody. All the fins are black and the pectoral fins are small. Around 10% of a tambaqui's weight is fat. The world record recognized by IGFA belongs to the Brazilian Jorge Masullo de Aguiar with 32.4 kg (71 lb).

Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Characiformes (Characins) > Serrasalmidae
Etymology: Colossoma: Greek, kolos = short, truncated + Greek, soma = body


Size / Weight
Max length: 108 cm / Common length: 70.0 cm / Max. published weight: 40.0 kg


South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins as wild form; pisciculture form largely distributed in South America.


This species is usually solitary. Adults stay in flooded forests during first 5 months of flooding and consume nothing but fruits and grains. Young and juveniles live in black waters of flood plains until their sexual maturity. Feeds on zooplankton, insects, snails and decaying plants. Used in aquaculture because it can live in mineral poor waters and is very resistant to diseases.




Capt Marc will take his groups during the prime fishing season and not just to fill a week, we have prime weeks reserved for the most possible productive trips to the Amazon, contact us for full details and dates. Trips fill up fast and early.

River Monsters

in the Rio Negro River

The Giant Black Fish

The great fish of the Amazon, the Tambaqui, although not from the Rio Negro you will see this fish on the menu in Manaus. It's one of the best tasting fish, grilled, in a stew or just fried in the pan with some side orders it makes a must try delicious plate. 

Tambaqui are large, solitary freshwater fish found in South America. After the forests have flooded these fish feast on fruits, grains and nuts using their very strong teeth. These largely herbivorous fish are in the same sub-family as the carnivorous piranhas.

The Tambaqui can be found in a number of locations including: Amazon Rainforest, South America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

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