This week we received a good number of the interesting frogmouth catfishes of the species Chaca bankanensis from Sumatra. In contrast to the rather reddish animals we could import earlier (https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/chaca_bankanensis_en/), this time they are rather brown-black colored, probably an origin-related color characteristic.
Very interesting is that some animals have striking white colored eyes. At first we thought of a mechanical injury or a parasite, but both do not seem to apply, because in all corresponding animals both eyes are equally affected. In the macrophotography we can also see well that only the upper half of the iris is white, the pupil and the lower half of the iris, however, are sharply demarcated. Presumably this is a characteristic that sexually active males show, this seems to us at least the most plausible explanation of the phenomenon. Externally recognizable sexual characteristics are not yet known with certainty in Chaca, but in the top view of a presumed pair one recognizes quite well the possible sex differences (head width, ventral fins).
For our customers: the animals have code 408253 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
These catfish have their funny name due to the fact that they make croaking sounds when taken out of the water. These sounds are decribed onomatopoeicly as „chaca“ by the natives. Usually Chaca chaca is imported from Bengal; the species is pretty common, but only seldom available, as it is not eaten by the local people. The up to 15-20 cm long animals are considered to be to ugly to be eaten and some people also think that the meat is poisonous. Moreover the fish is feared, because one can easily step on it when it is burrowed in the sand. Then the dorsal spine stings; this is most probably not venomous, but inflicts nevertheless nasty wounds which can become easily infested by bacteria.
Chaca are sit-and-wait hunters and do not move during daytime unless it is absolutely necessary. The small skin lappets are used as bait for potential prey. The fish lies moveless and imitates a stone covered with algae. When a small fish or a shrimp tries to feed from these algae an enormous mouth opens and thats it. Chaca chaca is able to swallow fish up the half size of their own body length. When Chaca chaca is very well settled in the aquarium it also swims around in the night and searches for food actively.
One should keep Chaca chaca in tanks with sandy bottom and dead leaves. Some peaceful and quiet other fish are recommended as company. Of course they have to be large enough not be swallowed. These companions help to show the keeper that the water chemistry in the tank is fine, for Chaca will usually not show any signs of indisposition until it is too late. Although it does not fit geographically at all: angels (Pterophyllum) are good company for Chaca.
For our customers: the fish have code 408301 (6-8 cm) and 408303 (10-14 cm) on our stocklist. Please note thta we exclusively supply the wholesale trade. Available in limited numbers only!
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer