Whether scuba diving or simply admiring an aquarium – watching fish swim by is a peaceful and mesmerizing pastime. Although there is an unending variety of fish in the sea, some aquatic beauties can be sold for astronomical prices. 

Quite similar to the most expensive cat breeds, these fishy friends get their high prices from various factors including their unique features and rarity.   

Get out your fishing nets and sense of wonderment – we’re taking you on a deep dive into the most expensive fish of the world and what makes them so special. 

The most expensive fish in the world
The most expensive fish in the world

Top High Profile Fish Types

While these aquatic creatures are priced higher than your average goldfish, these top luxury fish are a splendid sight to behold. Listed below are the highest-ranking pricey fish, to acquire or farm, in the world:

15. Golden Trout

This is a bit of an unusual one, as the Golden Trout is one of the most expensive fish in the popular Animal Crossing video game! You can exchange this fish for 15,000 bells.

Located in the upper mountain rivers of California, the Golden Trout is quite the catch of the day. This fish is easily identifiable by its coloring, a golden appearance with black dots and red stripes. 

Considered a subspecies of the Rainbow Trout, this glimmering fish is often a top pick for fishermen due to its delicious meat. 

A golden trout
A golden trout

14. Whale Shark

Known as the largest fish in the world, the humble Whale Shark reaches more than 40 feet in length. An endangered species, Whale Sharks are illegal to fish for their meat and fins. This makes them highly valuable on the black market.

Tip: If you find yourself in Cancún, be sure to go on an interactive Whale Shark encounter and swim with these gentle giants for an unforgettable experience.

A Whale Shark in West Papua, Indonesia
A Whale Shark in West Papua, Indonesia

13. Sawfish

The carpenter of the sea, this handy fish has the appearance of a saw-like structure on its snout, edged with various size sharp teeth. The saw fish is not to be confused with the saw shark, which has a different type of saw and replaceable teeth.

While they may be a danger to nearby prey with their terrorizing tool, Sawfish are quite harmless to humans. It is illegal to trade sawfish, since the species is at risk of extinction.

Sawfish can only be sent to aquariums for the purpose of conservation. Unfortunately, there is illegal hunting for their snout, meat, and fins.

A sawfish underwater
A sawfish underwater

12. Tuna

While this tasty fish is often found on your ordinary sushi platter, there are quite a few different types of tuna. Found mainly in the Western Pacific Ocean,

A single Pacific Bluefin tuna fish can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars in Asia. However, over-fishing and catching bluefins before they have reached maturity is depleting the species. Minimum catch size limits are needed to protect the Pacific Bluefin.

Japanese tycoon Kiyoshi Kimura paid $3.1m for an endangered bluefin tuna weighing 278kg at an auction in Tokyo’s fish market. He owns the Sushi Zanmai restaurant chain.

The Yellowfin tuna is not currently classed as endangered. This fish species is very important due to its commercial market value. For example, a Barbados tuna fishery is said to make an additional 2 million dollar profit annually thanks to this special fish. 

A yellowfin tuna fish
A yellowfin tuna fish

11. Pufferfish

These inflatable fish are equipped with a unique feature, which is the ability to puff up two to three times their size if under threat.

Ready to play food Russian roulette? Pufferfish is an Asian delicacy, also known as fugu, that can cause a fatality if not prepared properly. One portion of this adrenaline-fuelled appetizer can cost around $430, making it one of the most expensive foods in the world

A puffer fish
A puffer fish

10. Clarion Angelfish

With shocking orange scales and electric blue trimmings, it’s easy to see why this bright-colored fish has made the list. Acquiring a Clarion Angelfish will set you back approximately $2500. 

These expensive aquarium fish can be found off the western coast of Mexico, Clarion, Clipperton Island, and Baja California.

A Clarion Angelfish (Holacanthus clarionensis)
A Clarion Angelfish (Holacanthus clarionensis)

9. Wrought Iron Butterflyfish

The Wrought Iron Butterflyfish has a metallic appearance embellished with canary yellow fin tips. These glittering specimens tend to swim in groups for safety, forming a sparkling ball of metallic effervescence while they search for food. 

Located around islands in southern Japan, this water-breathing animal is priced at around $2700.

A shoal of wrought iron butterflyfish
A shoal of wrought iron butterflyfish

8. Neptune Grouper

Also known as the Garish Hind or Goldbar Grouper, this is a rare deepwater fish. The Neptune Grouper sports vibrant colors of yellow and orange as juveniles and the adults tend to have a pinkish hue with yellow stripes.

This luminous marine fish retails for around $6000. The high price is due to the fact that they are very hard to catch alive.

A rare Neptune Grouper fish
A Neptune Grouper fish – John E. Randall CC BY-SA 3.0

7. Golden Basslet

Ranging from $7000-$8000 in price, this little golden sea wonder is one of the most expensive saltwater fish in the world. They are hard to find, as they swim in deep waters at around 50 – 80 metres.

If you are fortunate enough to acquire this rare small fish, purchase ocean sea salt for your aquarium to create an optimum environment for your pricey pet. 

Golden basslet fish
Golden basslet – Haplochromis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

6. Bladefin Basslet

The Bladefin Basslet fish, also known as Jeboehlkia gladifer, has vivid coloring and is equipped with blade-like dorsal fins. This tropical fish is extremely hard to catch as it is classified as a deep water reef fish and is very small in size.

Measuring around 1.5 inches long, this rare fish swims at a depth of 700 feet and can mainly be found in the Caribbean. The Bladefin Basslet price tag starts around $8000.

5. Masked Angelfish

Hailing from the tropical waters of Hawaii, the Masked Angelfish is a quirky spectacle. This fish has silvery-blue scales and a stark coloration on its face that looks like a bit a green or black mask (very COVID-19 friendly if you ask us). 

Masked Angelfish are very hard to catch, only occurring in the deep depths of the ocean. Therefore, these masked marine species can go up to $25 000.

A male masked angelfish (Genicanthus personatus)
A male masked angelfish (Genicanthus personatus)

4. Peppermint Angelfish

Holding true to its name, the Peppermint Angelfish is a vibrant red and white striped sea creature. Originating from the tropical waters of the South Pacific Ocean, these bold fish can be found exclusively in the Cook Island archipelago.

Known as the “Holy Grail” of angelfish, these sea creatures are notoriously hard to catch. Prices for this candy-striped fish start around $30 000.

A Peppermint Angelfish
A Peppermint Angelfish

3. Platinum Alligator Gar

Chartering the ocean since the prehistoric age, the Platinum Alligator Gar is a surviving piece of evidence of primitive worlds once lived. 

This ocean-dwelling predator has a slender, white body and has a thick layer of ganoid scales covering its body. The price for Platinum Alligator Gars starts around $7000 but is often sold for up to $40 000. These aquarium fish are in high demand in China and Japan.

A Platinum Alligator Gar
A Platinum Alligator Gar

2. Freshwater Polka Dot Stingray

The polka dot stingray is a color scheme you definitely won’t expect in open waters, with its white spots. This delightful specimen can be found in the deep, muddy bottom of the Xingu River Basin in Brazil.  

Alternative names for this rare species are the Xingu River ray and white-blotched river stingray. There is venom in the stingray’s tail, so try to avoid swimming near them.

This preppy patterned fish can be bought for around $100 000, making it one of the most expensive freshwater pets in the world.

Freshwater polka dot stingrays
Freshwater polka dot stingrays

1. Asian Arowana

A symbol of good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture, this captivating fish is also known as a dragon fish. The Asian Arowana has large scales which vary from metallic red to silver in coloration.

Also known as a Platinum Arowana or Dragon Fish, this expensive freshwater fish can be found in Southeast Asia. This fish species price ranges from $300 and has been said to go up to $300 000 due to its rarity.

It is illegal to own Asian Arowanas in the United States, as they are on the endangered species list.

An Asian Arowana fish
An Asian Arowana fish

Here’s a recap of the most expensive fish in the world:

  1. Asian Arowana
  2. Freshwater Polka Dot Stingray
  3. Platinum Alligator Gar
  4. Peppermint Angelfish
  5. Masked Angelfish
  6. Bladefin Basslet
  7. Golden Basslet
  8. Neptune Grouper
  9. Wrought Iron Butterflyfish
  10. Clarion Angelfish
  11. Puffer Fish
  12. Tuna
  13. Saw Fish
  14. Whale Shark
  15. Golden Trout

Most Luxurious Fish of the World – Final Thoughts

The most expensive fish in the world holds a coveted space in pet ownership, from exotic pet connoisseurs to fish fanatics. 

These sprinkles of live sea confetti are a marvel to behold in action, from zooming about in their coral playgrounds to simply swaying rhythmically in an aquarium. 

Whether you’re looking for an expensive fish with historical significance or funky colors – your choice will be sure to make the perfect addition to your aquatic pet family.

Check these articles out: The Most Expensive Dogs in the World | The Most Expensive Horse Breeds

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The most expensive fish worldwide
The most expensive fish worldwide

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