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6 Most Expensive Tropical Fish in the World – Freshwater (2018)

List of the most expensive freshwater fish.

Here’s an article just for funsies.

If you’re into keeping tropical fish, you’ll know that some of these little swimmers can go for hundreds or even thousands of your hard-earned dollars.

But what if I told you they went for hundreds of thousands of dollars?

That’s right. They do.

Updated: 2/4/18.

The most expensive tropical fish on the planet

Believe it or not, some super rare or exotic tropical fish can fetch a (very) pretty penny.

So that’s why I wrote this post- so you can get an idea of how much the world’s most expensive tropical fish can cost.

Some of these fish species are absolutely stunning, which makes sense for the high price they demand. While others just look like everyday fish and makes you wonder why they’re so expensive. I’ll talk briefly about each species as we go over them.

Anyway, let’s get started with the list.

Here are the top five most expensive tropical fish in the world.


1. Nami Green Arowana

Nami Green Arowana most expensive tropical freshwater fish.
The Nami Green Arowana is a giant fish that commands about $5K.

Our first fish is a breed you may be familiar with- the Arowana.

It’ll cost you a hefty sum of about $5000 for one.

You’ve probably heard of Arowanas and you may know they’re expensive fish, but the Nami Green Arowana is a rarer version of it due to its special colorations.

They’re natively found near Pedu Lake in Malaysia’s northern Kedah state. Arowana fish are commonly sold as pets, but only for the common colors like silver. Nami Green is much more difficult to find available on the pet market because they’re being caught by fishermen without sustainability practices. Thus, they’re becoming more and more rare to find.

This variant has a striking color of orange and green in a gradient as it goes through the body. It has dim orange fins and a yellow-orange patch of scales near the head.

The Nami Green Arowana is a pretty rare fish. If you happen to have one of these in your tank, you’ll be known for it by the locals.


2. Neptune Grouper

The Neptune Grouper is a very rare tropical fish.
The Neptune Grouper is an extremely rare and mesmerizing fish.

The Neptune Grouper is a very pretty and exotic-looking fish, so it kinda makes sense that it’ll run you about $6,000 for one.

It has a bright yellow head with an orange and white striped body. It’s also a pretty rare fish so the pricing is decent what for you get.

They’re natively found in water depths around 260 feet, and have even been found in depths of up to 800 feet deep. Very few have ever been actually caught by humans and the largest one found to date was about 17 inches.

However, you can easily find this in Japan on the street for about $50. Why? Food.

Neptune Groupers are commonly sold as food for hungry people on the street or over a bed of ice in the market.

You can find this fish sold as food, but rarely as a pet. Perhaps they’re easy to catch as food for the people but not as a pet.

That’s quite perplexing, huh?


3. Bladefin Basslet

Bladefin Basslet is a rare and expensive tropical fish.
The Bladefin Basslet is an extremely rare fish that demands a very pretty penny.

The Bladefin Basslet will burn about $10,000 each.

It’s native to the Caribbeans and it pretty exotic tropical fish. They’re relatively small even when fully grown.

One of these little swimmers will put a huge dent in the majority of aquarists’ wallets.

They demand a high price because they’re rarely available for sale. And when they are being caught for a place on the market, they’re very difficult to catch.

This is because they’re natively found in very deep waters and because of their small size makes them a pain to get a hold of.

Although not too pretty, they’re still pricey enough for a fish to make this list.


4. Peppermint Angelfish

Peppermint Angelfish is a very pretty exotic fish.
The Peppermint Angelfish has a dazzling striped pattern.

The Peppermint Angelfish is a freshwater tropical that’ll cost you about $28,000.

It’s a pretty small angelfish that grows up to 7 centimeters in length and usually lives in tropical reefs in the Cook Islands and Rarotonga.

It’s a pretty difficult specification to care for and naturally hides in rocks and rubble, so a proper setup is critical.

As for endangerment, it’s labeled as “least concern” so there are plenty to go around.

Why is it so expensive?

Because it’s rarely exported as an aquarium specimen to be kept.


5. Polkadot Stingray

Polkadot Stingray world's most expensive fish.
The Polkadot Stingray is an exotic freshwater pet that’ll have the local fish store talking about you.

The Polkadot Stingray comes in both freshwater and saltwater forms, and it’ll run you about $100,000 to purchase one.

Stingrays are awesome. That’s a fact.

But if you want to buy one for yourself, you better be able to shell out some cash. You often only find these type of stingrays in aquariums and zoos, but not in a fish keeper fish tank.

The Polkadot Stingray is often found in Brazil in the Xingu River basin.

They reach up to 40 centimeters across, 75 centimeters long, and about 44 pounds in weight. The females are generally larger than males, like many other fish and animals often found in nature. (Did you know that? Humans have it backward.)

However, if you can afford it, you’ll be the talk of the local fish club with this awesome little species of fish.

Like the Platinum Arowana, there isn’t enough data to note if this is endangered or not. But with a price like that, it might as well be, no?


6. Platinum Arowana

Platinum Arowana is the world's most expensive fish.
The Platinum Arowana is the most expensive fish in the world.

And lastly, we have another Arowana.

This time, it’s the Platinum Arowana. It’s the most expensive tropical fish in the world. It runs at a whopping $400,000.

With this price tag, you could buy a full-out Lamborghini, Ferrari, or even a moderate house.

It has a long body, tapered tail, and large scale. It has the ability to hop out of the water and catch prey, so it spends a lot of time near the surface of the water. It’s sometimes called the “dragon fish” or “monkey fish” as well.

It’s impractical to actually spend this much on a fish, but for those who have some money to burn, this is an extremely rare species.

In fact, a microchip gets implanted into each fish before it’s sexually mature. This way, record keeping can be done and owners can be tracked.

You’d think it’s nearly endangered with this level of tracking, but according to resources online, it’s not listed on any CITES appendix so there’s no official word on its endangerment status.

If you’re interested in Arowana fish, there are other variations available that are much more affordable to the hobbyist. This one is the luxury edition.

It’s difficult and expensive to obtain. And only kept by experienced aquarists (or a very rich one).

Which one would you buy?

Well, there you have it.

A list of the five most expensive tropical fish on the planet.

Not all of these are pretty fish, but they’re still up there in price. Rarity, endangerment, and even how hard it is to catch them all contribute to the overall price you pay for ’em. They’re definitely not a dime a dozen.

With prices like these fish, I’m sure there are plenty of other luxuries you can buy.

But for the fish enthusiast, I completely understand. I’ve been there. I know those feels. Oh yeah.

What do you think? Would you ever take the pleasure of caring for one of these exotics?

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