Scats Fish
Species NameScatophagus argus
Common NameScat, Spotted Scat, Argusfish
Care LevelModerate
Lifespan5-15 years
Adult SizeUp to 14 inches (35 cm)
Minimum Tank Size100 gallons
Temperature72°F – 82°F (22°C – 28°C)
Water ConditionspH 7.5-8.5, Brackish water, salinity increases with age

About the Scats – Species Summary

Scats, known scientifically as Scatophagus argus, are fascinating brackish water fish that have found their way into the hearts and aquariums of enthusiasts worldwide. Their unique appearance combined with an intriguing behavior makes them a popular choice for those who venture into the world of brackish aquarium setups. Native to the coastal waters, estuaries, and freshwater rivers of South and Southeast Asia, they offer a different experience than the typical freshwater or marine aquarium. Notably, as Scats age, they prefer an increase in water salinity, moving from a more freshwater environment as juveniles to a saltier, brackish setting as adults.

Scats Lifespan

Scats have a relatively long lifespan for aquarium fish, ranging from 5 to 15 years. Their longevity is often attributed to their adaptability to different salinity levels throughout their life. With the proper care, optimum water conditions, and a balanced diet, they can indeed thrive for many years in captivity.


Scats are easily recognizable thanks to their deep, rounded bodies and distinct color patterns. The most common variety, the Spotted Scat, features a silver or greenish-gold body interspersed with small black spots. There are other varieties like the Green Scat and Ruby Scat that differ mainly in their coloration. Their dorsal and anal fins are fan-shaped, adding to their unique look.

Average Size

Fully-grown Scats can reach sizes of up to 14 inches or about 35 centimeters, making them quite a substantial presence in any aquarium setup.

Scats Care

Tank Size

For Scats, bigger is indeed better. Given their adult size, it is recommended to provide them with a minimum of a 100-gallon tank. This not only ensures they have adequate space for free movement but also helps in maintaining water parameters more consistently.

How To Set Up Their Tank

Setting up a Scat tank requires attention to their brackish nature. While juveniles can be started in freshwater, a gradual increase in salinity is crucial as they age. A sand substrate coupled with some sturdy plants that can tolerate varying salinity, like Java fern or Anubias, would be ideal. Add rock formations or driftwood for added aesthetics and hiding spaces.

Lighting Requirements

Scats do not have stringent lighting demands. Moderate lighting that emulates natural day-night cycles is typically adequate. This not only showcases their colors and spots but also ensures a healthy environment for any plants in the tank.


A pH range between 7.5 to 8.5 is optimal for Scats. It’s always good to keep a pH test kit handy to ensure the water conditions remain stable.


Maintaining a stable temperature between 72°F and 82°F (22°C to 28°C) is crucial for the well-being of Scats.

Water Parameters

In addition to pH and temperature, the salinity of the water is of prime importance for Scats. While they start in freshwater conditions as juveniles, the water should gradually become more brackish as they grow. Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels should be monitored regularly, ensuring they remain at safe levels.

Disease Potential

Like all aquarium fish, Scats are susceptible to diseases such as Ich, fin rot, and various parasitic infections. Ensuring clean water, a stress-free environment, and quarantining new fish can prevent most common diseases. If a Scat exhibits signs of illness, it is vital to diagnose and treat promptly.

Food & Diet

Being omnivores, Scats appreciate a diverse diet. While they will readily consume high-quality pellets and flakes, supplementing with live or frozen food such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and vegetable matter can ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients.

Behavior and Temperament

Scats are generally peaceful but can be territorial, especially in confined spaces. They are also schooling fish, so it’s advisable to keep them in groups of at least three or more to prevent loneliness and stress.

Tank Mates

Given their peaceful nature, Scats get along with a variety of brackish water-compatible species. Good companions include Mollies, Monos, Archerfish, and Bumblebee Gobies. However, due to their size and occasional territorial behavior, it’s best to avoid very small or overly aggressive species.


Breeding Scats in captivity is quite a challenge, primarily because they require specific triggers and water conditions. Typically, a drop in barometric pressure, often associated with incoming storms, can induce spawning. Hobbyists looking to breed Scats need to be patient, observant, and ready to make adjustments to tank conditions to mimic their natural breeding environment.

Scats FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)