Common Name: Chaca Chaca Catfish
Scientific Name: Chaca chaca
Other Names: Frogmouth Catfish, Flathead Catfish
The Chaca Chaca Catfish is a unique and intriguing species known for its unusual appearance and behavior. It has a broad, flat head and body, resembling a leaf or piece of debris, which helps it in ambushing prey. The coloration is typically mottled brown and tan, providing excellent camouflage against the riverbed. One of its most notable features is the wide, frog-like mouth, which it uses to suck in prey.
Habitat and Distribution:
Chaca chaca is native to slow-moving, murky waters in parts of South Asia, including India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. It prefers habitats with soft substrates, such as muddy or sandy riverbeds, where it can easily camouflage.
Size and Lifespan:
In the wild and in captivity, Chaca chaca can grow up to about 8 inches in length. With proper care, they can live for several years, often around 5-8 years.
Diet and Behavior:
Chaca chaca is carnivorous, feeding primarily on small fish and invertebrates. It uses a sit-and-wait strategy, lying motionless until prey comes close, then rapidly opening its large mouth to create a suction that pulls the prey in. In an aquarium, they should be fed a diet of live or frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and small fish.
Breeding and Reproduction:
Breeding Chaca chaca in captivity is quite rare and challenging. Little is known about their breeding behavior in the wild, but they are believed to be egg layers.
Aquarium Care and Tank Requirements:
A minimum tank size of 30 gallons is recommended. The aquarium should have a soft, sandy substrate to mimic their natural habitat, along with hiding places like driftwood or caves. The water should be well-filtered and maintained with regular water changes.
Ideal Tank Mates:
Due to its predatory nature, it's best to keep Chaca chaca with larger, robust fish that it cannot easily prey upon. They should not be kept with small or timid fish.
Intermediate. While not overly aggressive, their specific dietary needs and tendency to prey on smaller tank mates require a cautious approach to community tank setups.
- Temperature: 72-79°F (22-26°C)
- pH: 6.0-7.5
- General Hardness (GH): 5-12 dGH
- Carbonate Hardness (KH): 3-8 dKH
- Ammonia: 0 ppm
- Nitrite: 0 ppm
- Nitrate: <20 ppm
- Chaca chaca's unique appearance and ambush predator behavior make it a fascinating subject for species-specific tanks or with carefully chosen tank mates.
- They are known to be sensitive to poor water quality and require a well-maintained aquarium.
- This species is not particularly active, often lying still for long periods, which can be mistaken for illness by those unfamiliar with its behavior.
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