10 Most Expensive Saltwater Fish (With Pictures)

If you have a special love for saltwater fish, once in a while you must have felt the urge to know about the luxurious ones! I am here to let you know some of the most expensive Saltwater Fish on the globe.
Different kinds of fish have always been a source of interest to humans mostly because over the years they are playing a moderate but important role in the world’s food supply. Though there are around 32,000 species of fish that are said to have been discovered, only a small number are commonly liked by people.
PeaceKeeper Maroon Clownfish
Fishes that grow and live in ocean water are known as marine fish or saltwater fish. They can be carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores and tend to live alone or in a large group. With a distinctive taste, saltwater fish are an excellent source of animal protein, omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial from heart health to beautiful glowing skin while strengthening the body’s immune system.
The expensive fishes in this article are incredibly adorable. Having these fishes is not that simple, not just because they cost so much; rather some of them are quite rare, only the lucky ones can boast of their presence in their aquarium.
I’ve gathered a collection of the most invaluable saltwater fish, here you go-

Most Expensive Saltwater Fishes At a glance:

10. Japanese Interruptus Angelfish – $2,000
9. Clarion Angelfish – $2,500
8. Wrought Iron Butterflyfish – $2,700
7. Flathead Perch – $5,000
6. Neptune Grouper – $6,000
5. Golden Basslet – $8,000
4. PeaceKeeper Maroon Clownfish – $9,000
3. Bladefin Basslet – $10,000
2. Masked Angelfish – $20,000
1. Peppermint Angelfish – $30,000

Japanese Interruptus Angelfish

Price: $2,000
Japanese Interruptus Angelfish
So, I am going to initiate the list with the Japanese Angelfish (Centropyge interrupta), commonly known as Japanese pygmy fish. Coming from the water of southern and central Japan, they tend to live in rocks or coral reefs and can often be seen on Hawaiian Island.
Interruptus is non-aggressive and has an orangey-yellow body with purplish-blue spots on it and is completed with bright yellowtail. With a maximum size of 6 inches, the Japanese angelfish is one of the highly prized and desired fish species. And it goes for $2,000.

Clarion Angelfish

Price: $2,500
Clarion Angelfish
Clarion Angelfish, also known as Holacanthus clarionensis in Latin, is one of the stunning fish to appear on my Most Expensive Saltwater Fishes List. It’s declared as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is partly due to overfishing and the changing environment in which they live.
Living mostly off the Pacific coast of Mexico, this one is easier to catch than some of the other fish on the list. They have yellow-colored bodies sometimes a bit brownish orange to vibrant orange as well, with vivid blue stripes that run down their body, face, and fins. Reaching a length of about 10 inches, their lifespan can be up to 40 years.
Clarions are generally captive bred in Bali. The juveniles are different in their look than the adult ones and both demand different prices. Pay around $2,500 and you can take one home with you!

Wrought Iron Butterflyfish

Price: $2,700
Wrought Iron Butterflyfish
Known for their appealing patterns and colors the Wrought Iron Butterflyfish have highlighted yellow tipped fins while the body is black or grey with a metallic look. They live for about 7 to 10 years while growing about 5.9 to 6 inches in length.
Adult Wrought Iron fish have a strong schooling behavior and tend to stay together or hang out in groups of at least ten. You can find them usually around the western Pacific Ocean, close to Japan, and in surrounding islands.
The price of Wrought Iron Butterflyfish is almost $2,700.

Flathead Perch

Price: $5,000
Flathead Perch
The Australian Flathead Perch (Rainfordia opercularis), is one of the rarest and least known Basslet which has made it a target for both rare fish collectors and breeders.
Very little is known about the species. These fishes grow up to 6 inches in length, live for about 15 to 20 years. As juveniles, they are much brighter and their body color can be orange or a mixture of lighter blue and orange.
With wide mouths, like their given name they own a flathead which gives them a unique look. In recent years, they were caught on camera in Indonesia but they mostly live on the deep reefs of Eastern Australia. As for its rarity, Rainfordia demands a high price, and it is around $5,000.

Neptune Grouper

Price: $6,000
Neptune Grouper
The Neptune grouper (Cephalopholis igarashiensis) with its beyond worldly looks, is found in the Western Pacific Ocean including the incredible deep sea of Japan, French Polynesia, Fiji, and Australia making it kind of impossible to catch them alive!
Adult Neptune Groupers display a pink coloration with bright yellow stripes, while the juvenile ones feature appealing shades of orange and yellow. Their lifespan can be more than 30 years while growing up to 6 inches.
As deepwater fish, collecting them comes with many challenges like skilled divers, special decompression, and transportation procedures. So, barely they are available for sale and when they are, you can’t expect to have them without paying a hefty price of a minimum of $6,000.

Golden Basslet

Price: $8,000
Golden Basslet
If you have read out this far, then you are now looking at one of the rarest, hard-to-catch fish ever brought up from the deep ocean. So far, only 10 specimens have been collected making it a rare gem. Like the previous one, collecting them is very tricky because of their tiny size and it requires special techniques to bring them nice and safely to the surface.
A gorgeous body of an incredible combination of saturated yolk yellow, turning into tangerine towards the center, golden basslets live for around 5 to 8 years with a growth of only 2 inches. Like other basslets, they are aggressive hunters. If you like to have one of them, it will cost you nearly $8,000.

PeaceKeeper Maroon Clownfish

Price: $9,000
PeaceKeeper Maroon Clownfish
Well, if you are a sucker for amazing clownfish and want to fork out a huge sum of money then this might just be the one!
Maroon Clown Fishes (Premnas biaculeatus) are limited in numbers at present. Only a few pairs of these captive-bred species exist which produce a few fish showing beautiful colors. They are known as ‘designer fish’ to the fish collectors.
The Maroon Clown has a deep maroon color followed by its distinct three white bands, one behind the face, one bisecting the body, and one before the tail. If you wonder about the market value of $9,000, know that the combined coloration and striping is the first of its kind in maroon clownfish, as the peacekeeper clownfish was scientifically bred to achieve these physical traits.
Living for about 3 to 5 years they are usually 6 to 7 inches and semi-aggressive in temperament.

Bladefin Basslet

Price: $10,000
Bladefin Basslet
Swimming in at number 3 is our tiny calm guy Bladefin Basslet (Jeboehlkia gladifer). Some might argue that it’s finer than the golden one.
They are found mostly in Curacao, in the southern Caribbean sea. Their coloring ranges from vivid orange to white while having a blade-like dorsal fin. With a size of approximately 1.5 inches, their lifespan can be 2 to 4 years.
Bladefin is considered deep water (800ft) reef fish, which accounts for the incredible difficulty in collecting specimens. The only way to collect them is by submersible which is very expensive and hazardous. It justifies the excessive price tag of about $10,000. Pretty rare that they are available for sale.

Masked Angelfish

Price: $20,000
Masked Angelfish
So, one spot away from our most expensive fish on this list is our number 2 pick, Masked Angelfish (Genicanthus personatus) from Northwestern Hawaii Islands. If it’s placed in any tank, the grace and beauty will instantly make it a show-stopper.
Its unique coloration outshines other pale-white kinds of saltwater fish available in the market. Masked angelfish possesses a marble-like snow-white body with a deep black mask contouring its head and a tail of black and grayish-white.
Without having any colorful combination like other fish on the list, they are sought-after because of their elegant look. In their different stages of about 10 years of lifespan, they grow up to 8 inches while marginally changing appearance. Here comes the surprising part, they are not on the endangered species list, so the question comes into your mind like why are they so expensive!
They can be found only at the very edge of conventional diving and need special equipment for surviving after catching which requires huge expenses. This along with strong commercial fishing bans in the respective areas make the species so expensive once they are available.

Peppermint Angelfish

Price: $30,000
Peppermint Angelfish
And finally topping our list, here comes the magnificent shy species, native to the Cook Islands, Peppermint Angelfish(Centropyge boylei) for which collectors offer about $30,000.
Peppermint Angelfish is famous for its colorful body and rarity. The base of the fish is partly red or orange with white vertical stripes and yellow highlighted in the white face and chin, hence the name. Adult ones reach a length of about 3 inches and live for 10 to 15 years.
As the species is a very deep water fish, living in depths between 160 to over 400 feet, makes it a heck of a job finding them and only the trained scuba divers can reach there.
Since 2012, there is only one available for public viewing in the US, based at the Waikiki Aquarium in Hawaii. Many collectors have offered hefty prices for the fish but the aquarium authority would like to keep it without selling so that fish lovers can soothe their eyes with its beauty.
Frequently Asked Questions:

➤ Why are some saltwater fish so expensive?

If you enjoy fish that has the “briny” or salty flavor of the ocean, then saltwater fish is the best option. However, some of these species are so expensive that people can barely afford them for eating or to increase the beauty of their aquariums.
Actually, the high price tag of the fish that are listed above pretty much makes sense given their rarity, difficulties in the collection and maintaining procedure. Some of them are about to go extinct due to environmental pollution, overfishing and are labeled as vulnerable. Some live in the deep blue sea where divers can hardly reach without the help of expensive modern technologies. Also, some species are designed in a way that puts them among the best-looking ones increasing their worth.

➤ What is the most expensive saltwater fish for aquariums?

The most expensive saltwater aquarium fish is Peppermint Angelfish, which is worth about $30,000 and only one specimen is displayed in the Waikiki Aquarium, Hawaii, US. They are the inhabitants of tropical reefs in the eastern-central Pacific around the Cook Islands. As comparatively shy fish they often hide among rocks and cliffs making it almost impossible for the divers to reach them, hence demand a higher price.

➤ What is the least expensive saltwater fish?

Among so many kinds of saltwater fish, the cheapest ones are the Damselfish. And the most budget-friendly one is the Yellowtail Damselfish starting from $600. Its body is covered with a vibrating blue color with a nice Lil yellowtail. They can be 2 to 3 inches in size. Though aggressive, they are easy to take care of and available for collection. So, if you have a tight budget, you can purchase this one.
Final Thoughts:
Even though some saltwater fish can be excessively expensive, there are people out there, who have a passion for these, would like to collect them for personal hobbies or showcasing in aquariums or for artificial breeding of the same. If you are a saltwater fish enthusiast, hope this article helps you to find out the very best ones and to meet your interest.
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