• African Scat (Scatophagus tetracanthus)

    The African Scat is a beautiful Scatophagus, with a yellow base body color and 7 black vertical bars. It is rare to see this scat in the hobby, which I find confusing since it is also the only scat to thrive in freshwater as an adult.

    There is also a red scat (scatophagus argus arromaculatus), a silver scat (scatophagus multifasciatus), and a spotted scat (Scatophagus argus argus), but Scatophagus tetracanthus (African Scat) is the largest of the Scatophagus, topping out at around 16".

    The African Scat is considered venomous due to the poisonous spines on the dorsal fin. So be careful if you need to handle them.

    I've read that they are a shoaling fish, but I've also read many accounts of a dominant Scat killing all the other scats in a tank over night, with no warning. We keep our 3 in separate tanks for safety. They all display distinctly different personalities and I believe it is due to their rank in each tank.

    Common Name: African Scat
    Scientific Name:
    Scatophagus tetracanthus


    Temperature
    pH Range
    Hardness (dH)
    Max. Size
    Min. Tank Size
    Swim Area
    68F - 82F 7.0 - 8.5 12-30 dH 16 inches 75 gallons All Areas

    Origin:
    Indo-West Pacific: Somalia and Kenya to South Africa, Australia and Papua New Guinea. Also found in the rivers and lagoons of East Africa.
    Life Span:
    Reported up to 20 years in captivity
    Diet:
    Omnivore
    Additional Diet Information:
    Mealtime is a scat's favorite part of the day. They are almost manic, darting around the tank to see what you are going to drop in. And African scats will eat anything. A good diet will mix veggies with meaty foods. Mine go crazy over bloodworms and frozen krill.
    Gender Difference:
    Monomorphic
    Breeding:
    Unknown
    No reports of African scats breeding in captivity.
    Temperament/Social Behavior:

    • Usually peaceful, but very aggressive during feeding
    • Active
    • Schooling fish/Usually found in groups in the wild
    • Will eat smaller fish
    • Territorial
    • Can be aggressive to same species
    Common Diseases:
    African scats are susceptible to Ich and Velvet.
    Availability:
    Rarely Seen


    This article was originally published in forum thread: African Scat started by imagirlgeek View original post
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Ilikefronts's Avatar
      Ilikefronts -
      I received two of these fish on a recent import order. Your article is very timely as I had no information on them at all. The exporter insisted that they were 100% fresh water fish and your article confirms this. I plan to get some more as they are extremely attractive. Thanks for helping out with the "oddballs."
      Alison, Cichlids and Herps
    1. imagirlgeek's Avatar
      imagirlgeek -
      I'm so glad to hear that these profiles are coming in handy. We acquired ours from a friend at a LFS who wanted to free up the tank space. I was resistant at first since I knew nothing about them...and assumed they were going to need salt.

      Please share any of your experiences as you spend more time with them. As of this moment, I believe you and I are the only ones who have them.