13 Most Expensive Freshwater Fish You Can Buy Today

Curious about the most expensive freshwater fish in the world? Well, I have done the research. In this article, I will be sharing with you the most expensive freshwater fish and all the important details you need to know about them. 

Let’s dive in. 

The Priciest Freshwater Fish

  1. Asian Arowana

Asian Arowana

The Asian Arowana is a unique fish. It is big, has flowing fins, and large scales. The fish is regarded as a symbol of success in many Asian countries including Singapore, Taiwan, and China. This is probably the reason why it is one of the priciest fish you can purchase.

The fish is available in various colors including Platinum and Super Red Dragon. Asian billionaires and millionaires usually buy them for aesthetic shows and even pay for them to be surgically enhanced to win the shows.

Arowanas grow big and can leap out of water. They, therefore, need massive tanks.

There are rumors that the most expensive Asian Arowana ever sold was an albino Asian Arowana that fetched the seller $300,000. However, if you want one you will probably only have to pay between $1,000 and $1,500.

  1. Discus


Just like the Asian Arowana, Discus is also an expensive freshwater fish. The fish looks very unusual and this is perhaps the reason why it is quite expensive. After all, many rich people prefer rare or exotic things that everyone else doesn’t have.

Discus is an Amazonian Cichlid and it gets its name from its flat and round discus-like shape. Popular Discus colors include yellow, blue, and neon red.

If you want to buy this fish species, you should be prepared to buy a couple. This is because it is a social fish species. You should also be prepared to build a planted aquarium and to include driftwood. This is because they prefer such an environment.

A pair of health and good-looking discus fish will set you back about $500 bucks. 

  1. Polka Dot Stingray

Polka Dot Stingray 

The Polka Dot Stingray is also one of the most expensive freshwater fish. 

While most stingrays live in saltwater oceans and seas and are closely related to saltwater fish such as sawfish and sharks, the Polka Dot Stingray lives in freshwater rivers. This makes it very unique. Its body is also very unique and attractive and looks just like its name suggests.

The ‘fish’ is native to several Brazilian river basins and prefers a diet of clams and shrimp. It has a powerful jaw to crush its dinner and a venomous barb to fend off predators. 

While the barb can injure you or even kill you (RIP Steve Irwin), the fish is extremely shy and safe to keep in a big aquarium.

A young Polka Dot Stingray costs about $300, while an adult costs $1500.

  1. Blue-Eyed Pleco

Blue-Eyed Pleco 

It will not cost you a lot of money to buy a typical or common pleco. However, it will cost you hundreds of dollars to buy a Blue-Eyed Pleco. The reason why is that the fish is much more exotic and attractive.

The Blue-Eyed Pleco has blue eyes and a bigger body than its common cousin that is found in almost every other pet store.

The fish prefers feeding on driftwood and not algae. As a Blue-Eyed Pleco matures, it grows thick whiskers that will give it a fearsome appearance. It is a fish that any manly man would love to have in his aquarium.

The fish is native to Columbia.

A young Blue-Eyed Pleco goes for $150 while an adult one goes for $700.

  1. Electric Eel

Electric Eel

An electric eel is a knifefish and one of the most expensive freshwater fish. Its unique feature and perhaps what makes it expensive is the fact that it can produce an electric shock great enough to harm or kill another fish.

Electric eels are native to the biggest river basins in South America and prefer living in dark waterways. What you probably do not know about eels is the fact that their eyes are quite tiny and almost useless. They utilize a special radar-like system to navigate their underwater world.

While the electric shock an electric eel produces can shock and kill fish equal to its size or small than its size, it is not powerful enough to kill a human. Nevertheless, it can be quite painful and can actually damage the heart.

However, if you can afford an electric eel, you will be keeping them in a tank away from you or any other unsuspecting human. And you should know that you will need a big tank because electric eels grow as long as 6 feet in length.

A young electric eel costs $100, while an adult one costs as much as an iPhone.

  1. Alligator Gar

Alligator Gar

This is a very unique fish species. It looks like one that existed when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. Because of this, it is regarded as a living fossil. This is the reason why it is a very expensive freshwater fish.

The fish is found in the Mississippi basin and has tough scales and skin. In the past, American Indians used to use the skin as leather and the scales as jewelry.

Golden-colored and platinum-colored alligator gars cost a lot of money, especially in the southeast Asia region. And while they are expensive, they are very easy to take care of. They just need massive tanks and live prey. 

Since an alligator gar can grow as long as 10 feet in size, you will need to build a huge tank to keep it happy.

A nice and healthy platinum-colored alligator gar costs $6,000.

  1. Zebra Pleco

Zebra Pleco

Just like the Blue-Eyed Pleco, the Zebra Pleco is an exotic and expensive freshwater fish.

The Zebra Pleco has a very unique look. Its body is big and has bold black and white stripes. The fish is small in size and native to the Xingu basin in Brazil.

The fish prefers fast-flowing and well-oxygenated waters. So if you want to keep it, you should build your aquarium just right. Otherwise, it will not survive.

To many people, the best thing about Zebra Plecos is how they look. However, to me, the best thing about them is the fact that they can virtually eat anything because they are omnivorous.

One Zebra Pleco will set you back about $300.

  1. Black Devil Catfish

Black Devil Catfish

There are fierce-looking catfish and then there is the Black Devil Catfish. This fish is entirely black and looks like a shark. It is a fish you will be scared to see if snorkeling or scuba diving.

If you want a shark but cannot afford one, you should get this fish. This is because it is a powerful swimmer like many sharks and it attacks other fish mercilessly. It is a fish that creates a spectacle if it needs to.

It, however, is a bottom-feeder. This means it can be kept with upper feeding fish.

If you want to buy this expensive freshwater fish, you will need to buy a massive tank that can hold at least 300 gallons. You will also need to add rocks, plants, and so on to keep the fish busy and entertained.

An adult Black Devil Catfish costs about $900 while a young one costs $300.

  1. Arapaima


Most of the fish I have mentioned above can be kept in tanks. In contrast, this one cannot. This is because this fish species is known to grow very big. It can get as big as 12 feet long if well taken care of. 

This is the reason why only public aquariums and the super-rich buy and keep Arapaima fish.

The fish is native to the Amazon basin and can eat just about anything including insects, swimming mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish. 

The Arapaima can breathe normal air and it makes a sound when it leaps and does so.

A young Arapaima costs about $150 while an adult one goes for about $2000.

  1. Royal Clown Loach

Royal Clown Loach

The Royal Clown Loach is related to common Clown loaches and Kuhli Loaches. It is, however, bigger, more attractive, and more expensive.

This freshwater fish grows as big as 30 inches long and it is native to China.

Unlike common loaches, the Royal Clown Loach is shy and nocturnal. Despite being shy and nocturnal, this loach has a large mouth and plenty of speed to gulp small fish. Therefore, you should not keep it with small fish unless you want to serve the fish to it as dinner.

The Royal Clown Loach is a social fish. You should have at least three at any given time.

A four-inch Royal Clown Fish goes for $100.

  1. Flowerhorn Cichlid

Flowerhorn Cichlid

This fish was developed and made popular in Taiwan, Thailand, and Malaysia in the nineties. It has very vivid colors and is renowned for its unique-looking head. 

The flowerhorn cichlid can grow as big as 12 inches in length.

And while it looks pretty, it is a very territorial and aggressive fish. It is, therefore, not suitable for community ponds or tanks. Nevertheless, it can be housed in tanks with other similarly aggressive species like cichlids. 

It is not very easy to breed Flowerhorn cichlids. In fact, only a few of them breed true. This is the reason why this is one of the most expensive freshwater fish species.

The most expensive Flowerhorn Cichlid was sold for $600,000. It was a show specimen.

You can buy a young one for much less ($200).

  1. Betta Fish

Betta Fish

Everybody knows Betta Fish. What most people don’t know is the fact that Betta fish are among the most expensive freshwater fish in the world.

Betta Fish are also known as Siamese fighting fish. While common Betta Fish go for about $5 each, a show Betta Fish can go for as much as $1,500. 

Betta Fish are very colorful and attractive. They are also known for their flowing fins and the fact that they are easy to care for. Nevertheless, they are also pretty aggressive and in some places in Asia, people pay to see them fight.

But one thing everybody knows about them is the fact that they are very nice to keep. You will never get bored with a Betta fish. Especially one that is very nicely colored. 

A quality and healthy Betta Fish goes for about $40, while a specially colored one goes for about $1500.

  1. Zebra Shovelnose Catfish

Zebra Shovelnose Catfish

Like most catfish, the Zebra Shovelnose Catfish is a long fish that can get as big as 26 inches. 

Its unique features include its shovelnose and its vivid zebra-like black and white stripes. It is a very wonderful fish to keep. 

The fish can consume just about anything it can fit in its bit shovel-like mouth.

The Zebra Shovelnose Catfish is native to the Amazon River and it, therefore, likes fast-moving and well-oxygenated waters. Thus, if you want to keep them, you should build a big tank and fit it with Powerhead to keep the water moving and aerated. 

The fish can live with other fish such as Silver Dollars. 

A young Zebra Shovelnose will cost you about $200, while an adult one will cost more than a thousand bucks.


As you can see from the information above, there are many expensive freshwater fish available on the market. Some have been bought at more than $500,000. While others are as cheap as $30 bucks.

The fish are expensive because they are attractive, exotic, rare, or fierce-looking. Many of them are tank-sized but some require bigger spaces.

If I had several thousand to spare, I would probably spoil myself with a Black Devil Catfish. It just handsome, fierce, and appeals to me.