Cat-eLog Right Arrow Chacidae Right Arrow Chaca

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameChaca chaca  (Hamilton, 1822)
Common NamesFrogmouth Catfish
Angler Catfish, Giant-mouth Cat, Indian Chaca, Indischer Großmaulwels (Germany), Squarehead Catfish
Type LocalityNe. Bengal.
Synonym(s)Chaca buchanani, Chaca lophioides, Chaca lophioides, Platystacus chaca
PronunciationCHA kah - chack ah
EtymologyChaca: The name comes from the local name of the fish, which is probably derived from the sound it makes when irritated. 
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 180mm or 7.1" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationThe species of the catfish genus Chaca are easily identified by their extremely large and severely dorsoventrally depressed head, caudal fin with greatly enlarged procurrent rays, and tuberculate skin, often with fimbriate skin flaps on the head and sometimes on the body. The genus forms the monotypic family Chacidae, whose phylogenetic affinities to other catfishes remains unclear despite numerous studies.

C. chaca is a chocolate brown while the similar C. bankanensis is a brighter orange-brown.
SexingMales are larger and longer while females are shorter and more bulky.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionGanges / Brahmaputra drainage basin of India and Bangladesh.
Indian waters, North Eastern India Waters, Padma, Ganges (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Indian waters, North Eastern India Waters, Padma, Jamuna, Brahmaputra (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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IUCN Red List StatusLeast Concern
pH6.0 - 8.0
Temperature22.0-24.0°C or 71.6-75.2°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersCuriously Chaca spp. appear to lower the pH of their aquariums, much faster than the usual pH drop of a neglected tank (often to lower than pH 6.0 with no apparent ill effects to the fish). Thus regular water changes and pH testing are required particularly in a smaller species tank. Buffering may be required in some instances. Some authors report the premature death of feeder fishes that do not tolerate lower - or quick shifts in - pH levels. There is an argument that Chaca species affect their prey chemically, but I feel this is unlikely and would cause more noticeable effect in the confines of an aquarium. What is interesting to note however is that Chaca spp. are considered poisonous by locals, particularly if stepped on. Maybe we are looking at a chemical mechanism developed by a very inactive fish to taste as bad a possible to predators. Another theory still is that this excess acidity is a side effect of the strong digestive juices required by a fish that eats its prey whole.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingBaensch states that after acclimatization pellet food is accepted. I have observed hungry young C. bankanensis eating Tetra Prima (sold in the US as Tetra colorbits) soon after import. On the contrary, long time keepers of Chaca persistently try dried or even frozen food to no avail. Perhaps only young fish will learn to accept \'\'alternative\'\' foods. Either way, a Chaca keeper should be prepared to supply live fish on a regular basis.
FurnitureA sandy substrate is suggested for all species of Chaca. Some leaf litter is appreciated by this fish although Java moss and plants that do not grow too tall are also effective. Hiding places are not required given subdued lighting.
CompatibilityAn irrepressible predator of small, especially bottom feeding fishes. Fast moving, surface dwelling fishes in tall tank (15''+) are unmolested. That said, anything that comes within range of a hungry Chaca's mouth will rarely survive. In my opinion, one for the species tank.
Suggested TankmatesSee compatibility section.
BreedingThis fish has been bred in captivity. A summary of the details follows:
Diet consisted of tubifex, shrimp, small fishes, earthworms and chopped beef heart. A group of 4 fish were kept in a 36 x 18 x 18 bare tank containing a 8'' x 3'' diameter pipe. Spawning occurs in the pipe with all other fish outside. A single (probably male) fish remained to guard the eggs, these hatched 3 days later. Parental care was not observed, yet neither was predation. 10 days after the eggs were laid the fry became free swimming. The next day they began feeding on newly hatched brineshrimp and sifted daphnia. Nearly 400 fry were raised to 1.5''. They developed steadily and uniformly among the brood.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesFishes Ganges - pp140, 374 - Pl. 28 (fig. 43)
Registered Keepers(1) CFC, (2) JAYcarreon, (3) Attu, (4) darkwolf29a, (5) Koltsix, (6) kabaltah (k: 3), (7) The.Dark.One, (8) Shovelnose (k: 2), (9) dpk2313, (10) miles3, (11) headbanger_jib, (12) hockeydude9819, (13) arapaimag (k: 7), (14) hatiras (p: 2), (15) Murloc, (16) dmcat, (17) urcysk, (18) JasonMDann, (19) Gulper.

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Breeding ReportsNone.
Article - CotM 2001 March
Article - Shane's World Species Feeding Chaca chaca
Article - Shane's World Reproduction Breeding Chaca
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Last Update2013 Jul 13 16:16 (species record created: 2001 Apr 20 00:00)