Juvenile tambaqui, Colossoma macropomum, were exposed to sulfide and hypoxia for 12, 24, 48 and 96 h. Hemoglobin concentrations, red blood cell counts, and mean cell hemoglobin, were higher at 12 h in fish exposed to hypoxia. However, control fish and those exposed to sulfide and hypoxia had lower red blood cell count, hemoglobin concentration and hematocrit at 96 h. Methemoglobin was higher than in the controls, probably due to the hypoxemia induced by these stressors. Sulfhemoglobin was not detected in significant amounts in the blood of fish exposed to sulfide (in vivo), yet hemoglobin converted into sulfhemoglobin at 1-15 mM sulfide in vitro. Anaerobic metabolism seemed to be an important mechanism for adapting to sulfide exposure and blood pH returned to control values after 24 h of sulfide, preventing acidosis. The high sulfide tolerance in tambaqui is associated with its high tolerance to hypoxia.