Angler Catfish

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Chaca bankanensis - Bleeker, 1852
Angler Catfish

A fascinating, formidable predator not recommended for most community aquariums. Aaron Norman


This Asian catfish can consume items almost as large as its head, making it a very risky choice for the community tank.

Also, it has a short dorsal spine that can inflict a painful wound and may exude a slime that kills all other fishes housed with it.

A Chaca catfish may use its maxillary barbels to "fish" for smaller prey.

All in all, a fish for the catfish enthusiast who knows what he or she is taking on.

Family: Chacidae

Other common name(s):

  • Angler Catfish
  • Frogmouth Catfish
  • Squarehead Catfish

Native range:

Habitat: Hides in leaves and sunken branches on stream bottoms, waiting to ambush passing prey.

Maximum length: 20 cm (8 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 208 L (55 gal)

Water: Freshwater 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom.


Nocturnal carnivore. Feeds on fish and crustaceans in the wild. Offer a variety of meaty foods for freshwater predators. Live feeder fish can be used, but do not feed these exclusively.

Aquarium Compatibility

House only with fish considerably larger than the head/mouth of the Chaca. It will hunt at night, eating resting fishes that it can manage to swallow.

Special Care

Handle with extreme care to avoid being stabbed by its venomous dorsal spine.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: AN
Text credit: KW