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Photo courtesy of Aquascape fish imports

Scatophagus argus



    A hardy adaptable fish that is starting to be seen more regularly. The Scats are not a true fresh water fish, but young specimens can be kept in a fresh tank. As they mature they would be best in a salt water environment.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 12 inches (30cm)
    Tank: 40 gallons +
    Strata: Top to mostly middle.
    PH: 7.5-85
    Hardness: Hard
    Temperature: 72 - 82°F (20 28°C)


    Order: Perciformes
    Suborder: Percoidei
    Family: Scatophagidae
    Genera: Scatophagus
Typical Habitat

Common name:

    Scat, Spotted Scat

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs
    Badmans' Forum


    Indo-Pacific: North to southern Japan

General Body Form:

    Very tall and circular, becoming rounder as they mature. The fishes lateral line runs parallel with the ridge of the dorsal fin. The head is small. The hard rays on the dorsal fin are said to be mildly venomous and can cause much discomfort if they pierce the skin.


    The young of this species is brilliantly colored. The sides are Silver Green or Silver Brown and the field of the body is marked with large round Black spots. The color on the fins is variable, but never highly colored and usually transparent. As the fish matures it loses most of its striking color and the body tuns a dull silver with the large Black spots. It has been said that these colors are brighter and more pronounced when the fish is kept in salt water.

    The Scat is fairy easy to keep. They are very active and fairly peaceful species that require a large tank with plenty of room for swimming. The addition of some marine mix in the water will be beneficial. The name Scatophagus means the "eater of feces" so feeding will not be a problem. They are really omnivorous and will eat almost anything including live, flake, or frozen. Some vegetable matter should also be included and they have been known to eat aquarium plants. Due to their voracious feeding habits, excellent filtration is needed as well as frequent vacuuming of the gravel substrate. Water changes are a must as young specimens do not tolerate high levels of nitrates. As they mature they will have to be moved to a pure sea water tank, but this process can take many years.

    Brackish estuaries and the lower reaches of freshwater streams, frequently occurring among mangroves.

    No reported successes. It is believed that they spawn on coral reefs and the young migrate to the freshwater and brackish areas near river estuaries. When they mature they return to the open sea.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: B.Davies
Quite a few years ago I kept tropical fish and was/soon bored with tetras, danios etc. I purchased 3 Green Scats from a dealer and decided to try and breed them as I was told they hadn't been bred in captivity. After many months and losing one fish I luckily ended up with a breeding pair! It took a lot of time and altering of salinity, light levels and plant and rock shelter etc. but eventually I succeeded!! Might even write an article on how I did it. Perseverance is all.

From: Jad ghossein
I have 6 red scats 3 silver scat and 1 green scat living in a 350 L aquarium with 2 sharks baroon 2 monos and a green severum I noticed that when they grew up red scats have lots of fights between them and they also attack silver scats which are 2 times bigger (9 inches) but when it comes to feeding anything you put they eat but what they prefer is the tetra prima food,nutrafin basix,and 3 kinds of hikari the cichlid excel,cichlid gold and cichlid staple and not to forget how much they like the frozen blood worms the last thing I can say about scats that they are very dominant and they are the prettiest fish in tank

From: Michael Smith
Scats are great when they are young. I put 9 scats, one silver, four red, and 4 green spotted. They were great when they were young. However watch out when they get larger they get more aggressive between themselves. I also had to leave my tank plant free, they ate every plant down to the roots. They are great fish but with so many in the tank anything I put in their that looked like food they just ate and ate and ate. Eventually had to sell them because they do get very dominant and bold. I could literally push them out the way while they were eating. Top fish but watch your smaller shyer fish when feeding
From: Zooey
Scats . I am keeping all types Silver, Green, and Red. They are kept in a 20 gallon tank with monodactyls, both types. I use lots of filtration in a 20 gal tank and only three fish, to allow for growth. The Mono Sebae is huge-ten inches, and was aggressive enough to deter two small argentus. I bought four mollys, and two black finned sharks to break up the fighting, added a small silver scat, and then pulled out the dither fish (the mollys and the black finned shark-cats). This leaves me with two tanks of three fish each. In one a Mono argentus with a mono sebae and silver scat: the other tank holds two scats, one green (very large) and the other red, with the addition of a hefty mono argentus. There should be no problem with these guys. I can get them to eat anything really; they are funny swimmers in that they go horizontal, they duck under things and they come to the hand quite well. You can get them to eat frozen peas, by first cooking them a bit and breaking the shells with you finger; they will come up to the top and one time, while I was arranging stones, they actually were biting me for treats. pH should be basic, but mine are fine in pH of 7, with additions of Instant ocean to the 5 tsp. of table salt per gallon. Feed twice a day and don't overfeed. I use a high quality marine feed, peas, flake, and frozen mysis shrimp. Some of the nicest fish, with real personalities and not too much aggression. Remember that Sebaes will get aggressive with size; but all fish need a dominant -if you take out a dominant fish, you will just put the next one up the ladder. Better to create more spaces, holes, and cover and to use a lot of dither fish, which you can then just pull out. Some of the nicest guys I have had in a tank, and the list of brackish fish is small but curious. Watch out for all sorts of Puffers though-they are fin nippers, though the gobies are fine and add a bit of color and movement. Instant Ocean is the key, minerals, and phosphate pillows if they build up too much ammonia etc.




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