Most Expensive Fish for Aquariums in the World

The 10 most expensive aquarium fish


Many of the most expensive aquarium fish in the world cost more than what people can justify paying for a single animal. But if you want to add something unique to your aquarium, you may want to save up, no matter your budget.

Keep reading for a list of the most expensive fish to add to your next aquarium.

Most-expensive aquarium fish #FishPrice-tag
1Platinum Arowana$ 400,000
2Freshwater Polka Dot Stingray$ 100,000
3Peppermint Angelfish$ 30,000
4Masked Angelfish$ 20,000
5Bladefin Basslet$ 10,000
6Golden Basslet$ 8,000
7Neptune Grouper$ 6,000
8Australian Flathead Perch$ 5,000
9Wrought Iron Butterflyfish$ 2,700
10Clarion Angelfish$ 2,500
The 10 most expensive aquarium fish

Top 10 Most Expensive Aquarium Fish in the World

Whether you just won the lottery or otherwise have a ton of money at your disposal, consider how you can spend it. If you like fish, here are the 10 most expensive aquarium fish in the world.

1. Platinum Arowana: $ 400,000 (Most Expensive Fish in the world)

Platinum Arowana Most Expensive Aquarium Fish in the World
Platinum Arowana: The Most Expensive Aquarium Fish in the World

The platinum arowana is a white fish that measures 4’ 9” as an adult. It needs at least 250 gallons of water in the tank, and it can live up to 10 to 15 years.

With a price tag of $400,000, you’ll need a lot of money to buy and keep this fish. It’s a rare species, and some people believe the fish can bring good luck. That belief is one of the reasons for the high value.

This fish usually eats fish, shrimp, frogs, and insects, and it does best in water at 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Freshwater Polka Dot Stingray: $ 100,000

1024px Potamotrygon leopoldi
The freshwater Polka Dot Stingray costs up to 100,000, beacuse it’s so rare and beautiful. Picture Source:

The freshwater polka dot stingray has white polka dots on a black or brown body. It has sold for as much as $100,000, making it the second most expensive fish in the world.

The stingray can grow to be about a foot and a half, and females can be bigger than males. However, it needs up to 500 gallons in an aquarium. When it receives proper care, it can live up to 5 to 10 years.

These stingrays tend to eat fish and aquatic invertebrates. Some of them will eat crabs and snails as well.

Why is the Freshwater Polka Dot Stingray expensive?

The freshwater polka dot stingray is a rare and expensive species due to its extreme rarity and high demand from aquarium enthusiats. But, only a few Freshwater Polka Dot Stingrays live in their natural habitat in Xingu river in Brazil.

The Freshwater Polka Dot Stingray therfore has only a small population size and is threated from extinction due to habitat destruction and overfishing.

Moreover, the high demand for this species among aquarium enthusiasts further contributes to its expense. The freshwater polka dot stingray is highly sought after due to its distinctive “polka-dot markings”.

Furthermore, the freshwater polka dot stingray is difficult to care for. The stingray requires specific water conditions and a large 500 gallons + aquarium which makes keeping this fish extremely pricey.

3. Peppermint Angelfish: $30,000

Peppermint Angelfish
Peppermint Angelfish

The red and white peppermint angelfish is another expensive fish, though it doesn’t compare to the prior two. A peppermint angelfish can cost up to about $30,000. It can still be quite an investment for anyone looking to fill an aquarium.

(You can read about the other aquarium options at Most Insane Aquariums and Expensive Fish Tanks)

Peppermint angelfish require about 125 gallons of water, and they can live up to 10 to 15 years. But they’re pretty small, at only three inches long.

In the wild, these fish usually swim 300 to 400 feet below sea level. It can be hard for people to reach that level, so an aquarium is a great place to keep one for viewing.

4. Masked Angelfish: $ 20,000

Masked Angelfish Genicanthus personatus GRB
Masked Angelfish. Source:

The masked angelfish is a black and white fish, but it does come in other colors, like purple. It’s the fourth most expensive fish in the world, costing $20,000 on average. This fish can live about 10 to 15 years in a tank with 125 gallons of water.

At only eight inches, it’s one of the smaller expensive fish. However, it’s not as small as some of the others.

The masked angelfish lives at about 60 to 90 feet below water. Its natural habitat includes places like the Hawaiian Islands.

5. Bladefin Basslet $10,000

Bladefin Basslet
Bladefin Basslet

Next on the list is the bladefin basslet, which can cost up to $10,000. The red and white fish measures about 1.5 inches as an adult, and it needs 50 gallons of water. With care, it can live up to five to eight years old.

This fish tends to swim at around 700 feet below sea level when in the wild. You can find it in the Caribbean. The Bladefin Basselet is expensive, because it has to be colleced with a submarine in depths of 700 ft and beyond, which comes at a high cost.

Typically, the white is more noticeable, though the fish can look more silver. It then has red or even orange spots.

6. Golden Basslet: $ 8,000

Gramma dejongi
Gramma dejongior or The Golden fairy basslet. Source:

The golden basslet goes by many names, such as the golden mini grouper or the yellow devilfish. But regardless of what you call it, it can cost around $8,000. As the name suggests, it has a yellowish gold appearance.

This fish can be about two inches as an adult and live five to eight years. However, it requires about 50 gallons of water in the tank.

If you want multiple golden basslets, make sure only one is male because they can be aggressive toward other males. However, males do well with females.

 7. Neptune Grouper: $6,000

Garish Hind
The Neptune Grouper or Garish Hind. Source:

The Neptune is another expensive fish, and it’s also relatively rare. These fish are usually yellow and pink, and they can cost up to $6,000. They can grow to be 6 inches long, and they can live for over 30 years.

You’ll need at least 200 gallons to house this fish. In the wild, this fish tends to live at 260 to 800 feet or more below sea level.

It can be impossible to catch one of these fish in the wild. When you do find them, a lot of time they’re at a fish market.

8. Australian Flathead Perch: $5,000

Native to Australia, the Australian Flathead Perch is related to groupers and basslets. A single fish can cost about $5,000. Its most common colors are blue and orange, and adults can grow to be six inches long.

You can keep a pair of them in a 120-gallon tank, and the fish can live to be 15 to 20 years old. Babies will reach a little over an inch long at seven months old. They need to eat multiple times at that point to keep growing.

The babies may not have obvious colors when they’re young. But soon enough, the blue and orange will become more apparent.

(Consider reading about the Most Colorful Aquarium Fish if you love to fill your aquarium with colors)

9. Wrought Iron Butterflyfish: $ 2,700

Wrought Iron Butterflyfish
Wrought Iron Butterflyfish

Another expensive aquarium fish is the wrought iron butterflyfish. It’s black and grey and can grow to be 5.9 inches. With a price of $2,700, this fish is the ninth most expensive in the world.

The fish can live to be 7 to 10 years old, and it needs 80 gallons of water to thrive. Adults love to be in groups (or schools) of about 10 or more fish.

In the wild, they can migrate a long distance. They eat plankton, algae, and other invertebrates, and they live around 10 to 20 feet below the surface around rocky reefs.

10. Clarion Angelfish: $2,500

Clarion Angelfish
Clarion Angelfish

Rounding out the top 10, there’s the clarion angelfish. It costs about $2,500 for a single fish. These fish can grow to be 10 inches, and they can live for up to 40 years. That makes them the best deal when it comes to expensive aquarium fish.

Their native habitat is the Eastern Central Pacific, and they have yellow bodies with blue stripes. Many of these fish are bred in captivity in places like Bali. And $2,500 is just the start because some of these fish can cost even more.

Clarion angelfish are very active during the day, and they live alone or in small groups. You can feed them algae and small invertebrates.

A Few Other Expensive Fish

Just because the top 10 are done doesn’t mean all other fish are cheap. Here are a few more expensive types of fish.

Discus: Up to $ 500

Discus fish
Discus fish

Discus fish can cost about $20 for a young single fish. However, getting a mated pair can cost you over $500. The steep increase in price is because it can be hard to detect the sex of one of them.

If you want to breed these fish, you want to make sure you get a pair that will breed. Then, you can grow your collection.

These fish can reach six to eight inches in length and diameter. They have a beautiful pattern of blue and pink, so they’re easy to spot.

Blue-Eyed Pleco ($ 600: most expensive pleco)

Blue eyed pleco
Blue eyed pleco . Source: CC BY-SA 2.0

The blue-eyed pleco is another semi-expensive aquarium fish. A young blue-eyed pleco can cost about $150, but you may pay around $600 for an adult. This high ticket makes the Blue-Eyed Pleco the most expensive pleco, evene mire expensive than the zebra pleco, whichs costs around $ 300.

These fish are driftwood feeders, so they need waterlogged wood to survive.They won’t eat algae, and they aren’t the best at swimming. As adults, they develop bristly whiskers, which can make them look scary. But they need a lot of care.

Blue-eyed plecos are from Colombia, and they’re pretty rare due to the situation in that country. While they aren’t super expensive, they can be hard to find.

Zebra Pleco ($ 300: 2nd most expensive pleco)

Hypancistrus Zebra Pleco Juvenile
A Zebra Pleco is still among the most expensive aquarium fish. Source: CC BY-SA 4.0

A close relative of the blue-eyed pleco, the zebra pleco is another somewhat expensive fish. They live in a tributary of the Amazon River, and they need well-oxygenated, flowing waters to live. These fish can have a price tag of $150 to $300 per young individual fish.

As adults, they measure about three inches, and it can be easy to detect the sex. Males have bristles, similar to the whiskers on the blue-eyed pleco. However, females lack that trait.

You’ll need to feed this fish a mix of vegetables and invertebrates, like shrimp. These fish won’t eat algae.

The Most Expensive Fish for Aquariums in the World

From a few thousand to a few hundred thousand dollars, the most expensive fish for aquariums have a large price range. The priciest fish are extremely rare and can bring good luck, like with the platinum arowana.

While other varieties aren’t as costly, they can still carry an impressive price tag. Of course, make sure you know how to care for these unique fish before investing in any of them.

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