FAQs on Scats, Family Scatophagidae,
Related Articles: Scats, Scats and monos;
Old favourites and new species for the brackish
water aquarium by Neale Monks,
Related FAQs: Scats
1, Scats 2, Scat Identification, Scat Behavior, Scat
Compatibility, Scat Selection,
Scat Feeding, Scat Disease, Scat
Make sure the other life present can stand the same
conditions, not too tasty.
Heaters and scats? 11/26/13
I have a 65gal corner tank and just installed a heater fit for "up to
100 gallons". The temperature in this tank, which contains my red scat,
was 70 degrees when I first pot the heater in. Overnight, it rose to
<? This heater is not thermostatic? Has no control setting?>
I unplugged it, feasting that even on it's lowest setting it's still too
strong for my tank.
<If so, then it's defective. Return/exchange it for another. See WWM,
bb's for input re brands/manufacturers>
How warm is too warm for a juvenile scat?
<Upper 70's F is about right... too warm will shorten this animals life>
Will the heater just keep warming the water indefinitely?
<Hopefully no. You need a thermostatic make>
I'm new to heaters, so this is troubling.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Addendum to heaters/scats 11/26/13
Sorry about this, I just remembered additional questions.
There is a vent about 3 to 5 feet from the tank. One side of the tank is
adjacent to my arcadia door, and I have that area insulated with layers
of blanket so that as little cold passes from the door to the glass as
possible. Now, if I keep the house heater at a steady 74 degrees, will
this possibly eliminate the need for my overactive heater?
<I'd still use one. BobF>
The vent from which the warm air comes is, as I said, only a very sort
distance from the tank.
Scat Confusion, sys./salt use
Hello again. I suppose I'm becoming a frequent writer. Today I was told
that to be using marine salt to raise the salinity of my scats tank
(he's about four inches at the moment) was NOT the way to go- I should
be using aquarium salt because marine will raise calcium, and this could
damage my fish's organs and shorten his lifespan (!!).
<Utter rubbish. Who told you that…??? Scats live in the SEA. So the one
thing you can be sure of is that they LOVE marine aquarium salt mix and
the high calcium carbonate levels it brings. Instant Ocean, Reef
Crystals, or the generic brand of your choice -- it's all good.>
Well, after having been using marine salt for two months to gradually
raise the salinity, we're at 1.004, and now I'm petrified I'm putting my
little friend in danger.
He acts just fine- eats like a pig, reacts to me being near him with
excitement (ohboyfoodfoodfood)...the only thing I've noticed is that his
color is dark, and when he was at my work, they were bright. Am I
harming him? How should I reverse this?
I was told to simply cease using marine salt and just use aquarium from
now on to get the salinity up...I really hope I haven't harmed him.
(I've been cycling the new 65 gallon I plan on putting him in...also
with marine salt!! Would I reverse this the same way- or would a water
change and then aquarium salt do the trick?)
-long winded Tori
<Rest easy, Tori; you are doing the right thing. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Scat Confusion 6/29/13
Good. My levels read as such- ammonia is at <1, nitrates/nitrites at 0.
pH is ~8.2. Salinity now at 10. I wonder what could be making his colour
so dark, then.
<Scats appreciate big tanks, strong water currents, and above all else,
reasonably high salinity. Try upping the specific gravity to at least
1.005 and see what happens.>
On the calcium test (i used the Nutrafin test), it was two drops before
the water turned people...so his calcium is low. Is there anything you
can think of to brighten him up again?
<Carbonate hardness and calcium content of the water will go up with
more marine salt being used. Furthermore, mix in some coral sand with
any gravel used in the tank. Ideally, add a good handful of crushed
coral into the canister filter (a filter media bag may be useful here).>
I don't know what could be stressing him to cause the darker colors.
Thank you, though!
<Dark colours on Scats and Monos are usually environmental. Cheers,
<<And secondarily from social (bullying) issues. BobF>>
Re: Scat Confusion 6/29/13
Environmental? Do you mean water quality wise, or literal environment
(he seriously blends in perfectly with the tank and the decor. Sometimes
its a chore to find him even when he's right in my face)?
<Either/any… you need to consider widely… water chemistry, pH stability,
salinity, current (turnover/hour), tankmates, etc… Do start here:
Follow the links at top for more… the requirements of this species and
its genus are quite well understood.>
Do you have any further suggestions about reviving the bright colors-
other factors I may be missing? Thanks again...you guys are life savers.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Scat Confusion 6/29/13
Oh! And should I worry about magnesium and calcium? Where
should they be for a small scat of about four inches or so?
<Decent water chemistry (high carbonate hardness + use of quality
aquarium salt) should take care of this/these. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Scat Confusion 6/29/13
My bad! Last PS of the evening- I totally JUST realized
that you're the same Neale Monks who wrote the book I've been devouring
at work- the Brackish Fishes book. In my efforts to become a brackish
specialist I've been reading it cover to cover, and I enjoy it very
<I'm very glad to hear this!>
Okay...whew. I think I'm done with post-haste thoughts, now- now I'm
just curious about where his calcium and magnesium levels should be, or
if I should even worry about those.
<See previous; in short, no, assuming salinity and hardness are
adequate, they'll be taken care of.>
That, and other factors that could make him so dark. Sorry again if I
seem a bother- this is my first brackish fish, and I adore him. I want
him to be happy! :)
<Does he have tankmates? Scats are gregarious, and mix well with their
own kind and with Monos and Green Chromides. Avoid two specimens though…
three or more Scats works better, or singletons with trios of Monos or
Green Chromides. Cheers, Neale.>
Aiptasia... Scat sys., acclimation to SW-BW-SW...
8/5/08 Hi Bob, I was just reading your Aiptasia article, here:
You mention Scats as eaters of Aiptasia; sounds useful. My only comment
is you certainly don't need to acclimate them between fresh to >
salt across weeks. Frank Schaefer in the Aqualog book talks about
instantly taking these fish from one to another without causing >
problems except with buoyancy. I think that's perhaps a little
sudden, but certainly the drip method over 40-60 minutes works fine.
Cheers, Neale <Mmm, have seen Scatophagids make such rapid
transitions twixt marine, fresh, sewage water in the wild... I shy on
the conservative side though when putting all in print... am not so
sure the renal damage that might occur inadvertently with/for hobbyists
(actually not them, but their Scats!). BobF>
Re: Aiptasia 8/5/08 Hi Bob, I'd have put
"conservative" at 6 hours -- equivalent to one change of the
tide between salt/fresh. Do like the idea of them swimming into
"sewage water"! Cheers, Neale <Am very sure you know the
transliteration of the genus, family names... Yuck! Cheers, and later
to rinse my mouth with beers, BobF>
|Scats, Monos, Neale's pc. on WWM
6/22/08 <No biggee as they say. I take it you want to
replace the existing pc. on WWM with this? BobF> Re: Scats,
Monos 6/22/08 Indeed. I tried to match the font,
format so that you can simply cut 'n' paste.
<Appreciated. Will post/supplant> You may wish to
comment/correct the paragraphs on use of Scats and Monos in marine
aquaria. I've essentially said they're excellent for
fish-only systems, but their predatory (Monos) and omnivorous
(Scats) habits make them less good in reef tanks. <Mmm, okay...
am more "liberal" in my estimations/utterances re such
issues of suitability... After all... these fishes/species are
indeed encountered on reefs... Cheers! BobF> Thanks! Neale
Re: Scats, Monos 6/22/08 Hi Bob, <Big N> I
wouldn't disagree, and have often seen both in public aquarium
reef tanks, where they seem to do very well. (Here in the UK at
least, Monos are staples for "big fish" systems alongside
nurse sharks, groupers and the like.) <Am out visiting in
Portland, OR, and an old friend/associate in the trade,
"R.D." has opened a marine livestock whlse. op. here
recently... and was shipped a whole bunch of M. argenteus!!!
It'll be a while selling these here> Just concerned that a
Scat would demolish macroalgae without a second though, and Monos
can/will eat small crustaceans, though apparently zooplankton
feeders in the wild. Fishbase reports Scats to a depth of only 4 m
(presumably at sea). Seem "fishy" to you? <Mmm, no...
have seen these poop eaters mainly along coastlines, near
freshwater, sewage, human outfalls... only in such shallow water.
Cheers and biers, BobF> Cheers, Neale
Scatophagus in reef tank? Hello- <Hi Jane> I am
wondering if a scat would do OK in a large reef tank. Would they eat
all of my macroalgae or just nibble like a tang would? <Maybe... but
likely not all of it. Should make a very interesting addition> I
have been looking for an unusual big addition to my tank that eats a
little algae but would leave corals and clams alone. I already have a
Mono Sebae so I thought a weird brackish fish would be appropriate.
Thanks very much. Your website is always a big help. I work in a fish
store and recommend it all the time. -Lisa <Ahh, good to offer our
help. Bob Fenner> <Marina's note: Long Beach Aquarium of
the Pacific has/had a beautiful collection of these fish in a
"lagoonal" display - have never seen them look so
Freshwater to brackish (Scats) 10/30/07 Hi
there and thanks for taking time to read this. <Hello.> Last
April I purchased 2 silver scats for my 55 gal FRESHWATER tank. This is
a bit of a sore subject as my mom and pop fish shop sold them to me as
FW fish, they claim to sell nothing related to salt or brackish water
systems. Yeah right! I recently discovered several of the species of
fish acquired from them are brackish which most likely explains their
deaths (puffers, flounder and a shark species). <Brackish water fish
can and do last long periods (certainly several months, but in some
cases years) in freshwater. Unless these fish died after a period of
multiple months, then there's no reason to assume lack of salt was
fatal. Check other factors, such as water quality.> Although I am
happy to say the Scats and Flounders are doing well, for now.
<Don't bank on it. The sooner you move them to brackish water,
the better.> They (the Scats) are getting close to 5 inches in
length and from what I have read they would prefer to be converted to a
brackish environment at about this size. <Correct.> This is a
subject that I know next to nothing about but I am trying to educate
myself about the brackish tank setup. <Many articles here at WWM to
set you on your course. There are also at least two books on the
subject, one edited by me for TFH, and another from Aqualog written by
Frank Schaefer.> My question(s) are: How long can these guys live in
a totally FW tank? <Months, but not indefinitely. After around 6
months you will notice them becoming more sensitive to opportunistic
infections. Fungus, Finrot, Lymphocystis, and Pop-eye are all things
that plague Scats kept in the wrong conditions.> Will adding
aquarium salt, designed for FW, help or hinder them? <Not much
help.> Are fish covered in the federal governments "cruelty to
animals" laws? ( I know this last question is from left field but
I thought I would throw it out there) <In theory many countries have
rules about cruelty to vertebrates generally, including fish. Here in
the UK, labs and zoos certainly do have to adhere to specific
guidelines about avoiding suffering and providing adequate care. How
these apply to home aquarists is less clear, but in theory you could be
prosecuted. I'm not a lawyer and can't speak for your country
(which you don't name) but I can tell you that here in the UK the
Animal Welfare Act 2006 would allow a private citizen to be prosecute
for things like "Failing to ensure the welfare needs of an animal
are met" and "Causing an animal to suffer
unnecessarily". Under this Act, the covered animals are any
"living vertebrate animal", which includes fish. Of course, I
should like to think anyone keeping fish would be adhering to the
spirit of this law regardless of whether or not they were being forced
to. After all, if a person doesn't want to care for an animal, then
they have the choice not to keep that animal.> and finally- Is it
best to start with a new tank for a brackish setup or can a tank that
currently houses FW fish be converted? <It can be converted just
fine. Go slowly so the filter adjusts. The minimum specific gravity for
your fish is likely SG 1.005, or about 9 grammes of salt per litre of
water. The optimum is about SG 1.010, about 15.5 grammes of salt per
litre. Do a series of water changes over the next few weeks, adding
slightly more salty water each time. Don't take the SG up by more
than "two points" on the SG scale, i.e., no more than SG
1.000 to SG 1.002, or SG 1.002 to SG 1.004. Don't make bigger jumps
than that because you could stress the filter bacteria. Some plants
don't like salt. But that said, Scats eat all plants anyway so
that's probably a moot point. Otherwise things like gravel,
filters, heaters etc all work fine in brackish water even if bought for
a freshwater tank.> It was bought used so I do not know what types
of meds and chemicals the previous owners used. <Shouldn't make
a difference. The only possible problem would be if the tank was really
old and had a cast iron or steel frame. Metal corrodes in salty water.
But I haven't seen a metal-framed tank for ages.> Thanks again
for taking the time, My scitty-Scats and myself greatly appreciate it!
Regards, ET <Scats are great fish, and Silver Scats among the
greatest. Truly beautiful animals, with colours as lovely as any coral
reef fish. Do enjoy them, and enjoy "slightly salty"
fishkeeping. Good luck, Neale>