Fishes such as fancy guppy, swordtail, platy, and goldfish are perfect starter pets for our children. They are not very expensive to own and just need an average size aquarium with clean water and food to thrive.
However, there are serious fish collectors that spend as much as $1,000 up to a whopping half a million for one fish alone. That does not count the cost of maintaining a beautiful reef aquarium and food for the valuable fish.
Some collectors spend more than $8, 000 for a fish as tiny as an inch. The world’s most expensive fish is the platinum Arowana that costs $400,000 and a rare polka dot stingray that costs $100,000.
See the full list of the most expensive fishes that an average aquarist would not usually buy.
10- CANDY BASSLET: $1,000
One of the most colorful marine fishes, Candy Basslet inhabits the Caribbean waters mostly off the coast of Curacao. The beautiful fish survive well in captivity, it thrives on a diet of meaty seafoods such as finely chopped fresh or frozen marine fish or shrimp.
The fish is a known solitary animal so it is best to keep them alone in the aquarium decorated heavily with live rock. One Candy Basslet costs from $899-$1000, a very high price for a tiny fish.
9- CLARION ANGELFISH: $2,500
The tangerine-colored fish thrives only in few locations and occurs mostly on the islands off the Pacific coast of Mexico including the islands of Revillagigedo and Clarion.
The Clarion Angelfishes are not easy to acquire, one needs a special permit from the Mexican Government to collect them and they come with an expensive price tag in the aquarium trade.
8- WROUGHT IRON BUTTERFLYFISH: $2,700
The butterflyfish is native to the western Pacific ocean near central and southern Japan. The fish can grow up to 6 inches, and is one of the rarest to find and also one of the least owned due to its price tag.
The fish thrives alone or in small groups, but one fish usually costs over $2000. An average home aquarist doesn’t usually spend that much for one fish, and it is rarely seen in the aquarium trade.
Once in captivity it shouldn’t be put in anything under 180 gallons. The fish is an active swimmer and feed on enriched meaty diet with algae and other green foods.
7- AUSTRALIAN FLATHEAD PERCH: $5,000
The fish comes with a price tag as high as $5,000 when available in the aquarium trade. It is found in the waters of Australia and is very difficult to catch.
It darts out of its cave for food, then darts back to hide inside its rock shelter. The first flathead perch was offered for sale in the United States for $4,999 in 2011. The Australian flathead perch prefer live glass shrimps and plenty of rocks to hide under.
6- NEPTUNE GROUPER: $6,000
The Neptune Grouper is very rare, and when it is available, collectors willingly pay as much as $6000. The expensive live fish dwell in deep water and require diving techniques to collect it.
The specimen requires special decompression and transportation for a cost as high as $6000. The Juvenile grouper displays brilliant shades of yellow and orange, while the adult displays bright yellow bands on its brilliant pink scales.
Strangely enough, the adult Neptune grouper can sometimes end up iced and sold in the fish market for less than $100 for human consumption.
5- GOLDEN BASSLET: $8,000
The Golden Basslet also knew as the Mini Grouper is one of the smallest of the grouper family, it is entirely yellow with red outlining the fin. The rare treasure inhabits the waters of the Pacific and Atlantic.
It is rare to see the fish in the aquarium trade and it does not easily adapt to other environments. In rare captivity, the fish requires at least a 30-gallon tank and plenty of rock caves for hiding.
Like its cousin Candy Basslet, the Golden Basslet thrives on a diet of meaty foods such as finely chopped marine fish, squid, Mysis shrimp, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp. The fish is highly territorial and is best kept alone in the reef tank.
4- BLADEFIN BASSLET: $10,000
The tiny red-and-white-colored fish comes with a huge price of as much as $10,000. The depth at which the fish occurs is too deep, approaching 500 feet underwater, making it one of the hardest to find and collect.
That alone explains the high price tag that comes with it, not to mention the fish is too tiny approximately 1.5 inches in length and requires a submersible to collect. The idea of spending $10,000 for a nano reef fish is quite a no-no for an average aquarist.
3- PEPPERMINT ANGELFISH: $30,000
Another exotic fish on this list is the Peppermint Angelfish that could fetch a price as high as $30,000. The peppermint angelfish naturally occurs in the waters of the eastern-central Pacific around the Cook Islands and is one of the rarest to find.
The first highly sought after specimen had landed in the United States at Living Reef Orlando in 2013 and the sell was unknown. The second juvenile Peppermint arrived in the States in the same year and was offered for sale at a price of $20,000.
2- FRESHWATER POLKA DOT STINGRAY: $100,000
The rare captivity bred freshwater polka dot ray was on display on a pet fish expo in Taiwan in 2013. The ray’s ancestors were hailed from Brazil, where their kinds naturally occur.
The fish has a unique genetic mutation on the front of its head causing it to look u-shaped instead of flat like most others. Currently, it’s one of the most expensive pet fishes in Taiwan with an asking price of $100,000.
In the wild, this stingray would never be able to survive; it can’t hunt for food with its misshapen head. In captivity, it must be hand-fed to survive and should be kept in an aquarium of at least 100 gallons.
The aquarium should be large enough for it to swim around and breathe. The water has to be kept clean and well filtrated to keep it healthy in captivity.
1- PLATINUM AROWANA: $400,000
The world’s most expensive fish is the rare Arowana which has a value of approximately $400,000. The fish has no coloration on its body resulting from a very rare genetic mutation.
The super expensive and rare kind of Arowana is so valuable that a micro ID chip is implanted into it before it reaches sexual maturity for identification. Arowanas occur naturally in South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa with most species include the Red Arowana, Green Arowana, Yellow-Tail Arowana, Silver Arowana, Black Arowana, and Australian Pearl Arowana.
In captivity, they can reach a size of about 35 inches and they can live for more than 50 years. They must be kept in at least a 300-gallon tank with plenty of live food such as crickets and worms. They are intelligent fishes with the ability to recognize individuals and they can be trained and hand-fed.