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The 10 Most Expensive Types of Fish in the World

At some point, most of us have seen some pretty fancy fish. Whether at the aquarium, on television, in the background of one of those famous people's reality shows. Some are beautiful colors, while others have unique features. They are simply a cut above your average pet store variety goldfish.

Did you ever stop and wonder how much people spend on those scaly creatures? Where do these unique fish come from? How expensive are the rarest among them? Well, keep reading to find out about 10 of the most expensive fish in the world.

10. Candy Basslet - Price: $ 1,000

Scientific name: Liopropoma carmabi

This fish averages 2 to 3 inches and is beautifully marked with lavender and orange stripes with lines. Usually, they can be found at about 230 feet down, along the Atlantic coast from Florida to South America.

The Candy Basslet enjoys reefs and rocks, so if kept as a pet, the tank must have these items. In the wild, they tend to keep to themselves. If kept as pets, they will become more outgoing with time.

9. Clarion Angelfish - Price: $2,500

Scientific name: Holacanthus clarionensis

This fish can be found off the coast of Mexico. Adults usually grow to be between 7 to 8 inches and have a brownish orange body. Found around rocky reefs, they usually hover around 100 feet below the surface.

Currently, it is illegal to collect the Clarion for the aquarium trade. However, those bred in captivity are legal to purchase. Their diet includes algae and sponges. This species of angelish will require at least a 30 gallon tank. They are peaceful and non-aggressive towards other fish. If properly cared for, it can live up to 10 years.

8. Wrought Iron Butterfly Fish - Price: $2,700

Scientific name: Chaetodon daedalma

Found in the western Pacific ocean near Japan, these fish grow to be about 5 to 6 inches. Named for their metallic appearance, these yellow-finned rock-dwellers are quite hard to find. Though they don't live as deep as some of the other fish on the list, they are good at hiding and their color gives them good camouflage.

The diet of this fish includes fanworms, gastropods, and barnacles. When kept as pets, they tend to adapt well if kept in large tanks. You can expect the Wrought Iron Butterfly fish to live about 7 years.

7. Australian Flathead Perch - Price: $5,000

Scientific name: Rainfordia opercularis

This dark orange fish has lavender stripes and a slender body. As adults, they average around 6 inches. This fish is so elusive that its exact numbers are not known.

This species of flathead lives in the waters off Australia at depths up to 650 feet. When kept as pets, the aquarium should have living rocks and coral, as they love to hide. At the same time, they can be social and are aware of people on the other side of the tank. Some Australian flatheads have lived to be 15 to 20 years.

6. Neptune Grouper - Price: $6,000

Scientific name: Cephalopholis igarashiensis

The Neptune Grouper can be found in the western Pacific ocean off the coast of Japan. An adult grouper will average about 12 inches in length. Other characteristics include its reddish orange color and yellow bars on its upper flanks. It can be found at depths of 820 feet, near steep reef drop offs and caves.

This species feeds on small fish and crustaceans. As with other fish that live at those depths, care must be taken to bring them to the surface. This is time-consuming and expensive, which is why they are so expensive. If kept as a pet, the Neptune grouper will need at least a 250 gallon tank. They are social fish and actually enjoy being petted.

5. Golden Basslet - Price: $8,000

Scientific name: Liopropoma aberrans

Native to the Caribbean Sea, the Golden Basslet spends most of its time hiding in reef walls at depths of about 300 feet. Golden yellow, this hard to find fish, grows to be about 3 inches.

This gorgeous fish is expensive because, like others on the list, it must be collected by a submarine. After being caught, it must spend several days in a pressurized chamber to allow the pressure to gradually release.

If they make it to the water's surface, they are very adaptable to aquariums and social with other fish. Just have plenty of krill on hand as that's their favorite food. When well cared for, a Golden Basslet will live between 5 to 7 years.

4. Bladefin Basslet - Price: $10,000

Scientific name: Jeboehlka gladifer

The Bladefin is one of the rarest fish in the world. It lives mostly in the waters off of Curacao, but has been spotted off the South Carolina coast as well. At 3 inches long, it is one of the most expensive reef fish per inch offered to aquariums.

To collect this fish, one must travel by submarine 490 feet below the water's surface. Once obtained, the fish must undergo a rigorous decompression process. This is to avoid swim bladder which will kill it.

When ready for an aquarium, this vibrant orange and milky white fish will need at least 20 gallons and some coral. Unfortunately, the lifespan of this fish is relatively short, 2 to 4 years.

3. Peppermint Angelfish - Price: $30,000

Scientific name: Centropyge boylei

The Peppermint angelfish is named for its reddish and white stripes. It's a small species of ray fish, growing to be less than 3 inches, with an oval body and white face. Found mostly in the South Pacific ocean, it's native to the Cook Islands.

This small fish lives at depths of 180 to 395 feet on coral rubble. Not much is known of its diet, but it is believed to eat worms and sponges. The Peppermint Angelfish is expensive because they are rare and hard to collect. They are shy fish and tend to hide in reefs and cave crevices.

If you succeed in acquiring one of these elusive creatures, they will settle in nicely if provided with the proper tank. An artificial reef will need to be created for their comfort. Since they are shy, tank mates should be chosen carefully so they don't stress and develop ich. The average lifespan of the Peppermint is 12 to 15 years.

2. Freshwater Polka Dot Stingray - Price: $100,000

Scientific name: Potamotrygon leopoldi

This venomous stingray is black with white spots. It lives at the rocky bottom of the Xingu River in Brazil. An adult will average 30 inches in length (including tail) and weigh an average of 44 pounds.

This stingray eats fish, snails, crabs, and small invertebrates. Though they are venomous, the venom loses its potency as the stingray gets older. If they are to be kept as pets, a tank of at least 180 gallons is needed. In addition, special food is needed, along with careful monitoring of the water.

This species produces high levels of ammonia, so the water must be changed several times a week. Ownership of this fish is prohibited in many states, including Arizona, California, Hawaii, Texas, and Georgia. Other states, like Florida, require a license. The average lifespan is anywhere from 10 to 19 years.

1. Platinum Arowana - Price: $400,000

Scientific name: Osteoglossoidei bicirrhosum

If you can find this elusive legend of a fish, it will cost you upwards of a half million dollars to call it your own. The main reason people who can buy this fish is for its captivating freshwater beauty, which is the result of a genetic mutation. It's metallic scales and almost absence of color make it a wonder to set eyes upon.

Found in the waters off of Asia, Australia, and South America, they also possess a large mouth and eyes. The average length of an adult is 3 feet. It is extremely rare to capture one, which also adds to the lofty price tag.

The Platinum Arowana can live between 15 to 20 years if given proper care. It's an aggressive fish, so they do best in their own tank, which should be at least 180 gallons. Their diet consists of small invertebrates and fish.

What Are The Benefits Of Keeping Fish?

While most of us will never be able to comfortably or practically afford any of the fish on this list, it shouldn't stop us from fishing for some more reasonable versions. Our finned friends can make great pets and they have a lot going on in the plus column.

1. Ease of Care

Other than simple tank maintenance and tossing some food flakes in, fish are no trouble at all. They don't need to be walked. No litter needs to be scooped and changed. A pet sitter is not needed for vacations. A fish will not eat your shoes or scratch your furniture. You won't have fur all over your clothes either.

2. Relaxing

Imagine coming home to the gentle whirring and bubbling of the filter. The warm soft light radiating from the tank. No barking, no demands to be fed, it's lovely. You can just sit and watch as your fish swim around happily. Many people keep fish to combat stress and anxiety.

3. Great for Small Spaces

If you're short on space or live in an apartment, fish make the perfect pet. The tank can be as small as you wish (you can choose the number of fish to have). No neighbors will be complaining about barking or whining. You won't need to go up and down stairs or in the elevator several times a day.

4. It Makes a Great Hobby

While cats and dogs are great, fish can hit differently. If you love learning new things, fish offers endless possibilities. There's also a million ways to get creative with tank decor, both inside and out.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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