Barca snakehead, Channa barca


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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
Restricted to the Brahmaputra river basin, Northern Assam, India.
Reputed to grow up to 90cm/36".
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!
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.
These were taking frozen foods.
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.
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.