Green Spotted Scat Fish (Scatophagus argus)

Know Your Fish

Scatophagus argus, Scatophagus argus arromaculatus, Scatophagus tetracanthus, Selenotoca multifasciata, Selenotoca papuensis are commonly referred to as Scat Fish, common names include Green Scat, Green Spotted Scat, Indian Discus, Leopard Pom-fret. Red Scat or Ruby Scat is the common name for Scatophagus argus arromaculatus. These fish are native to Indo-Pacific region & coastal areas of Australia, New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Japan, Africa etc. Natural Habitat includes harbors, brackish estuaries and the lower reaches of freshwater streams frequently occurring among mangroves. Green spotted Scat Fish as Juvenile stay in Freshwater or Brackish waters & move to Salt water as adults, these fish are known to migrate from marine to freshwater bodies in coastal areas even as adults; this makes them adaptable to changing salinity in waters they inhabit. Spotted Scat fish is a schooling fish & thrive in an aquarium if provided with the right tank size & if kept in a school of 6 or more. They have spikes in their fins which can cause pain & dizziness if stung so be careful when handling them in an aquarium. They can grow between 6 to 8 inches in home Aquarium & live for over 10 years of age. Green Spotted Scat fish is used for human consumption mostly in  south eastern parts of Asia & also have been commercialized as they make peaceful tank mates in Brackish water aquariums. 

Lifespan

Scat Fish can live more then 5 years. They have known to live past 10 years in an aquarium.

Visual difference between Male & Female Scat Fish

Visual differences between Male & Female Scatophagus argus fish is based on the shape of their head. Male Scat Fish have a slight bulge on their forehead i.e. above their eyes, whereas the Female Scat fish lacks the concave bulge on the head; females also appear little light in coloration, whereas the male seem to be darker. Also remember the darker coloration could also mean to be a stress indicator in this fish in an aquarium without ideal water conditions.

Spotted Scat Fish Aquarium Care

It is interesting to keep these fish in an aquarium as these fish are sold as juveniles stating they are freshwater fish. To my surprise I've seen one odd fish every now & then survive in Freshwater to adulthood, this is rare & I don't recommend keeping these fish in Freshwater as adults as it impacts their Osmoregulation. My advise would be get a school of these fish as Juveniles of about 8 to 10 around half an inch to 1 inch in size. Ensure the salinity in the tank is on the higher side & increase the specific gravity as they age. This can be done by adding marine salt to the water (never add marine salt directly to aquarium, mix it separately in a container & use hydrometer to measure specific gravity) removing the water which is already in your aquarium by means of weekly or bi-weekly water change for your aquarium. I keep my brackish water aquariums at a specific gravity of 1.008 to 1.0014 at the highest, most find it difficult to care for these fish as they start in freshwater, then move to brackish & can be kept in salt water tanks. Its not as difficult as it sounds, below information will help you further with their aquarium care.

Tank Size Scat Fish

For Juveniles 50 Gallon or Bigger & Adults Need 125 or bigger

Tank Decoration Spotted Scat Fish

​Firstly start at least a minimum of 50 Gallon (190 liter) if not 125 Gallon straight Freshwater  Aquarium for Juveniles with very food filtration as bio-load is on the higher side. The Tank should be a Freshwater Tank with higher salinity, for tank decoration. Plants will not work not even Anubias or Java fern, use artificial decoration like pots, rocks or artificial plants; use sand for tank bottom. Most freshwater plants cannot withstand higher salt in water & Scats are well known for eating plants in aquarium. Once, the Aquarium is established look for minimum 8 to 10 Juveniles kept in Freshwater at the Pet store, around the size of one inch. Acclimate the fish to the Established Tank, ensure the tank has open area for the fish to swim as these are schooling fish, along with this use decor like rocks etc. to create hiding places, as these fish get aggressive towards their own species during feeding time. Feeding time is the only time you would see them chasing each other, however they never chase other fish, I had kept them with smaller brackish water mollies & never seen Scats mess with them. 

Temperature Range

70° to 82° (21 to 28°C)

pH Range in Freshwater Set-up

7.5 to 8.5 is the pH range ( there should never be drastic change's in the pH level). In Brackish setup specific gravity between 1.008 & 1.0014 works well. 

Water hardness

10 to 20 dGH

What to feed Scat Fish?

Scat Fish are Omnivores, they accept readily available fish food like pellets, flakes, freeze dried worms, spirulina based fish food & live food like daphnia, meal worm, blood worms etc. Spirulina based fish food should be their staple food.

Tank Mates for Scat Fish

Tank Mates for Spotted Scat Fish in case its Freshwater set-up would be Sail-fin Molly, Swordtail, Juveenile Green Chromide, Orange Chromide, Dwarf Neon Blue Rainbow fish etc.

In Brackish set-up Green Chromide, Orange Chromide, Mono Angelfish, Brackish water mollies, Archer fish, African Moony or Mono Sebae etc. These fish do well in community tanks however they would defend & chase away other Scat fish during feeding, otherwise these are among the peaceful Brackish water fish I have ever kept.

Breeding Information of Scat Fish

Scats are never been bred by me or anyone I know; there is no information of them been captive bred. These fish are collected as juveniles from their natural habitat & kept in man made ponds in ornamental fish farms until they achieve desirable size before they are sold. It is difficult to breed them in aquarium as its difficult to mimic the changes of temperature, water salinity etc. What triggers spawning is unknown, it could be age, season, weather, salinity, trust me on this I'm as keen as you to know more about this fish's breeding behavior. In case I ever have any reliable information or if they spawn in my Aquarium I will share it here.

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