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Down Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Chaca chaca  (Hamilton, 1822)
Common Names Frogmouth Catfish
Angler Catfish, Giant-mouth Cat, Indian Chaca, Indischer Großmaulwels (Germany), Squarehead Catfish
Type Locality Northeastern Bengal.
Synonym(s) Chaca buchanani, Chaca lophioides, Platystacus chaca
Pronunciation CHA kah - chack ah
Etymology Chaca: The name comes from the local name of the fish, which is probably derived from the sound it makes when irritated. 
Article Link - CotM Right 2001 Right March
Article Link - Shane's World Right Species Right Feeding Chaca chaca
Article Link - Shane's World Right Reproduction Right Breeding Chaca
Down Species Information
Size 200mm or 7.9" 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.
Down Habitat Information
Distribution Asia: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaya and Indonesia. Reported from Myanmar.
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 Category Least Concern, range map and more is available on the IUCN species page. Last assessed 2009.
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.
Down 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. User data.
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 See compatibility section.
Breeding This 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.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Down Further Information
Reference An account of the fishes found in the river Ganges, pp 140, 374, Pl. 28 (fig. 43).
Registered Keepers There are 24 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
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There are 7 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
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Last Update 2020 Oct 05 14:27 (species record created: 2001 Apr 20 00:00)