The largest member of its genus, this species can reach a height of up to 38 cm (15 in) from tip of dorsal to tip of anal fin. Its natural color is silver with three brownish/red vertical stripes and red striations into the fins. When mature, it may display red spotting and a blueish green dorsal overcast, and when aroused, a black operculum spot. This species is characterized by an acute incision or notch above the nares (supraorbital indention), a trait found in all true Orinoco Altum specimens.
Breeding this species in captivity is challenging, as it is difficult to breed the wild-caught variety. Altum angelfish are typically found in well-oxygenated, extremely soft waters with a pH range between 4.5 and 5.8. These waters are nearly transparent blackwaters with almost no conductivity, and the temperature range is between 78 and 84 °F (26 and 29 °C). Altum angelfish prefer to spawn on submerged roots and tree branches in a moderate water current, unlike P. scalare, which prefer to spawn on submerged leaves of plants and trees in the flooded rainforest. Due to the detailed maintenance required for proper health, this species is recommended for intermediate to advanced aquarists.
True Orinoco Altums are typically only available in aquarium shops from late summer until early winter. This is because the water level in their native river system is only low enough to allow for successful fishing from July to October. The species can also be found in the Atabapo River and Inirida River floodplain, down the Casiquiare and Guainía floodplain where the Rio Negro is born, before entering Brazilian territory.
size will be in body plus tail length *