Ulrich Alsfasser looks at the world's rarest snakehead - nice if you have a few grand to spare...
Scientific name: Channa barca
Common name: Barca snakehead
Origin: Restricted to the Brahmaputra river basin, Northern Assam, India.
Size: Reputed to grow up to 90cm/36".
Water: As usual with snakeheads water quality is not paramount but extremes should be avoided. Given the pricetag, you'll want to take extra special care to give this fish perfect conditions!
Aquarium: For a single subadult, a 180cm/6' tank is the minimum tank size required. A much larger tank is needed for an adult, and an extremely large tank is required for a pair.
Diet: These were taking frozen foods.
Breeding: Nothing is known about the fish's breeding behaviour. This is the world's only captive pair!
Notes: There are only a handful of barca in captivity, so these are exceptionally rare fish in the aquarium hobby. A German fishkeeper has bred the related Channa aurantimaculata.
Similar species: C. aurantimaculata is frequently confused with barca, but barca is much rarer, and this is one of the only photographs of a real specimen. The new species Channa sp. "Meghalaya Leopard" looks a bit like a young barca.
Availability: Tom Halvorsen imported a pair of barca a few months ago. They were the first ever to be imported into the UK and the only pair available in the world at the time.
Price: Extremely expensive. Best not mentioned to the wife if you buy one. The ones featured here were the first ever to be imported and were £5000 for the pair, or at least £995 each! They have come down a bit in price now, but they're certainly not cheap!
This is an article from the Practical Fishkeeping website archives. It cannot be reproduced without written permission.