The characin piracanjuba, Brycon orbignyanus (Valenciennes, 1850), has been recognized as a candidate species for aquaculture. The early morphological development and allometric growth of hatchery-reared piracanjuba were studied from hatching to the juvenile stage, at water temperature of 27.9 ± 0.6°C. Growth, in total length (TL), was linear during that period. At hatching (3.4 ± 0.2 mm TL), the non-pigmented free embryo had most functional systems not fully differentiated. The primordial finfold was almost completely absorbed, except the preanal segment, in individuals measuring 9.1 ± 0.4 mm TL. Retinal pigmentation occurred as early as 24 hours posthatching (hph). The yolk sac was no longer observed after 60 hph. Body proportion and growth rates changed considerably during early morphological development. The head experienced positive allometric growth in length throughout the interval of study, and at the inflexion point of 6.6 mm TL, head growth had reduced significantly, but still remained allometrically positive. Trunk length showed negative allometric growth throughout the period of study. The growth of the postanal length was allometrically positive until the inflexion point at 7.1 mm TL, and thereafter decreased to near isometric. The allometric growth changes in the piracanjuba during initial life likely result from selective organogenesis directed towards survival priorities.