Cat-eLog Right Arrow Chacidae Right Arrow Chaca

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Chaca bankanensis  Bleeker, 1852
Common Names Chocolate Frogmouth Catfish
Banka Angler Catfish, Frømund (Denmark)
Type Locality Bangka, Indonesia.
Pronunciation CHA kah - bank an EN siss
Etymology Chaca: 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.
Identification The 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.
Sexing Males are larger and longer while females are shorter and more bulky.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Asia: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Borneo.
Indonesian Waters, Bangka (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Status Least Concern
pH 6.0 - 8.0
Temperature 22.0-24.0°C or 71.6-75.2°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters Curiously 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
Feeding Baensch 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.
Furniture A 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.
Compatibility An 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 Tankmates An 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.
Breeding See C. chaca.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Jump to next section Further Information
References Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië v. 3 (no. 3), pp 455.
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Last Update 2019 Sep 14 03:43 (species record created: 2001 Apr 20 00:00)