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  • Source: Copyright Athur Frisby

  • Source: Copyright Arthur Frisby

  • Source: Copyright Arthur Frisby

  • Source: Copyright Arthur Frisby

Channa barca (Barca Snakehead)

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The Barca snakehead (Channa barca) is a rare species of snakehead. It is endemic to the upper Brahmaputra river basin in northeastern India and Bangladesh.

This is undoubtedly one of the nicest Snakeheads. It is a relatively large snakehead, reaching a total length of up to 100cm. This species is regarded as an excellent food fish, and it is also highly desired by aquarists, but it is a rarity.

Also it's behaviour and larger size makes it unsuitable for most aquariums.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

The species is highly carnivorous and feeds mostly on fish. Little is known about their breeding behaviour, but like it's nearest relatives it is likely a mouthbrooder.

It is aggressively territorial towards conspecifics warning even in pairs or groups which have been maintained together for extended periods of time.

Maturity may occur when around the 12cm mark, but generally, a lot of individuals are around two or three times that size before they reach it.

The species has a low fecundity, both parents take care of their young.

An obligate predator which probably feeds on smaller fishes and insects in nature but in most cases adapts well to dead alternatives in captivity.

Some specimens even accept dried foods though these should never form the staple diet.

Young fish can be offered chironomid larvae (bloodworm), small earthworms, chopped prawn and suchlike while adults will accept strips of fish flesh, whole prawns/shrimp, mussels, live river shrimp, larger earthworms, etc.

This species should not be fed mammalian or avian meat such as beef heart or chicken since some of the lipids contained in these cannot be properly metabolised by the fish and may cause excess fat deposits and even organ degeneration.

Family Group: Snakeheads
Distribution India
Temperature 20-28C
Size 80cm
Water Parameters Adaptable, but avoid extremes
Water PH 6.0-8.0
Care Level Difficult
Sociability Aggressive
Water Chemistry Adaptable
Schooling Fish No
Diet Special Needs