By Rhett Butler

The Scatophagidae, Scat, or Argus-fish family consists of the genus Scatophagus , and is distributed throughoutbrackish water and marine environments along the coasts of Asia, Australia, and Africa. The fry of this family pass througha sort of metamorphosis of having a large head and a body covered with bony plates.

Scat, Argusfish, Spotted Scat
Scatophagus argus argus
SYN : Cacodoxusargus, Chaetodon argus, C. atromaculatus, Ephippus argus, Sargus maculatus, Scatophagus macronotus, S. ornatus
PD : A stocky, tall bodied fish with lateral compression and an arched back. Thefront part of the dorsal fin is low to the body and the caudal fin is fan-shaped. Both the head and the mouth are small. Thecoloration varies with age and slightly with distribution. Generally the flanks are yellow to brown witha greenish-yellow iridescence. The flanks are marked irregularly with black spots. The fins are body colored.
SIZE : To 12" (30 cm)
SS :Red Scat ( Scatophagusargus arromaculatus ) of fresh, brackish, and salt water habitatsin Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. The body coloring of the Red Scat is more red than that of the commonScat. This sub-species is sometimes sold under the synonym, S. rubifrons . The Silver Scat ( Scatophagus multifasciatus ) from coastalIndia to Tahiti. This species has a silver body color with a silver sheen in reflected light. TheSilver Scat reaches only 4.7" (12 cm) in length. The African Scat ( S. tetracanthus ) is a rare, but beautifulspecies from coastal East Africa. It has a base body color of yellow with seven black, transverse bands. This species reaches 16" (40 cm) innature, although usually reaches a maximum length of 12" (30 cm) in captivity.
HAB : Inhabits tropical brackish and salt water habitats of coastal areas in the Indianand Pacific Oceans. Found along the coast from India to Tahiti.
S: middle
TANK : A 36" (91 cm) or 35-45 gallon (132-170 L) tank is suitable for fish up to 6"(15 cm) in length. Larger fish require more spacious tanks. Use a fine gravel or preferably a coral sandbottom. Include hiding places among rocks and leave open swimming areas. This species is strongly herbivorousand consumes nearly any plants put in the tank. Thus Java Fern, which is poisonous, should not be used.
WATER : pH 7-8.5 (7.9), 12-30 dH (20), 68-86°F (20-30°C). Recommend a 1.5 to 3 % addition of salt. Add11-23 Tsp. of salt for every 10 gallons (15-30 g/10 L).
SB :A peaceful, but active schooling species that should be kept in groups of four or more. TheScat is a fine brackish or salt water community species as long as it is not combined with small fish.
SC : Monos, Puffers, Archers, Arius catfish
FOOD : A greedy eater that will accept nearly any food. Live; small fish, crustaceans, worms,insect larvae, aquatic insects; chopped meat; plant matter; vegetable; lettuce, spinach, peas; oatmeal; pellets;tablets; flakes.
SEX: Unknown
B : Unknown
BP : 10. Breeding has been unsuccessful.
R :The addition of salt gives the fish better health and coloration. Young Scats can be kept in fresh orbrackish water, but adults prefer salt water as they live mostly in the ocean. These fish consume great quantitiesof food, therefore regular water changes are essential. Scats undergo a metamorphosis while young. The young have large heads and sturdybony plates in the larvae stage. As they mature, their armored plating undergoes a change resulting in the familiar bodycladding of adult fish. The Scat is known for its habit of feeding on ocean sewage in its natural habitat, hencethe name Scatophagus (dung-eater).
DC : 6. This hardy species requires brackish water conditions.