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The Fish

A fish transfer station outside Barcelos


Home to over 800 freshwater fish species (and more being described each year), the Rio Negro and its tributaries continue to provide hobbyists the world over with an incredible diversity of aquarium species. From its most famous export, the Cardinal Tetra, to the regal Discus and everything in between, the Negro holds something of interest for every aquarist.

The fish species found in the Rio Negro are adapted to some extreme conditions-temperatures often exceeding 86F, pH just over 3.0, and incredibly soft, tannin-rich waters. Despite these challenges, the Rio Negro abounds with fish, and is one of the most productive blackwater ecosystems on the planet. In the main river channel, large catfish like the well-known tiger shovelnose patrol the depths, while larger characins like the dorado and flagtail prochilodus can be found closer to the surface.

But it is the quiet tributaries and igarapés (flooded forest streams) which hold the greatest diversity of aquarium fish species. Dozens, if not hundreds of species of Corydoras catfish shoal among the shallow waters along the banks of the Negro. A profusion of tetras, including aquarium classics like the bleeding heart, rummynose, and marble hatchet, can be found by the thousands in many of the shallow swamps and streams. Cichlids, from the tiny checkerboards and apistogrammas to the huge peacock bass or Tucunare, are equally abundant.

Despite the fact that aquarium fish have been exported from the Rio Negro for almost four decades, there are still some exciting new species and rarities emerging from the region. From the stunning tucano tetra, the starry dwarf cichlid (I. adoketa), and a number of new loricariids and Characidium species, the Rio Negro continues to offer excitement even for fans of rare and unusual species.


Hundreds of containers of aquarium fish awaiting
transport to Manaus

Segrest is proud to offer a wide selection of fish sourced from the Rio Negro-from the common to rare. Availability will vary significantly from month to month, and some of the items listed are very uncommonly available, but if you're interested in a specific item please visit your local Segrest Farms retailer and ask if they can special order what you're looking for. Be sure to check our facebook page for updates on new arrivals and unique fish.

We encourage anyone interested in learning more about the aquarium fish of the Rio Negro to visit Project Piaba's species profile page.

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