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


Common name:



    Spotted Scat



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.

Coloration: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.


    1. 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.



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