According to National Geographic, the Asian Arowana is currently the priciest freshwater aquarium fish on the planet.
Nicknamed the “dragon fish” by enthusiasts and collectors, the Asian Arowana is endangered in the wild and heavily protected by the Endangered Species Act.
But this hasn’t stopped a worldwide consortium of collectors from exchanging sums of up to a few hundred dollars for a single fish!
In this article, learn about why the Asian Arowana price is so high and what other expenses to prepare for if you want to own this prized fish.
Asian Arowana Purchase Price
While the most expensive Asian Arowana is reported to be a whopping $300,000, with similar adult prize fish fetching prices of $150,000 and up, most collectors do not pay this much.
The price in Singapore for a young Arowana is reportedly around $300 per fish. Young fish of rarer coloration can fetch prices of anywhere from $1,500 to $70,000 per fish.
Planet Arowana in Europe lists Arowana prices ranging from £50 to £4,000+ (approximately $65 to $5,240). Arowana Shop in Germany has prices ranging from $120 to $500.
Factors Affecting Asian Arowana Purchase Price
These are the most common factors affecting its price:
Asian Arowanas are prone to a condition called drop-eye. They can also develop rough scales and ragged tails, especially for wild-caught fish.
Surgery can cost anywhere from $115 to $185 per procedure. Purchasing a damaged fish may get you a better price per fish even if you have to pay for corrective surgery later.
The majority of Arowana sold today are farm-raised or breeder-raised. Most fish are raised on fish farms in Singapore and exported to Europe or other countries.
Some distributors/breeders will offer flat rate shipping while others charge based on destination and available shipping services.
Arowana Shop in Germany offers free shipping on orders over $1,000. Planet Arowana in the UK states shipping is charged at £30 per box ($39) with next day delivery.
- Order size
You may receive a discount for ordering multiple fish.
Arowana Shop in Germany offers a discount when you purchase three or more Arowana in a single order.
There are several species and four basic color types of Asian Arowana: golden cross-back, super red, red tail golden, and green.
Of these four, the first is the rarest. Albino is also a very rare and prized color while red is the most popular.
On the other hand, green is the most affordable which is more appropriate for beginners. Hybrid colors developed by breeders also exist.
Young wild Arowana naturally stay in groups of six or more fish. In adulthood, however, these fish become territorial. Adult fish may injure (or eat) each other or other tank mates.
This can create both cost and space issues to be aware of. You will pay less per fish for young Arowana but may be faced with the need to separate or re-home adult fish.
One-Time Asian Arowana Costs
These are the most common initial Arowana costs:
The Asian Arowana can grow to be three feet long (silver Arowana can grow even up to four feet) in adulthood and has a lifespan in captivity of as long as 60 years. This means your it will need a very large tank and will live a very long time – perhaps even outliving you!
Aquarists suggest a minimum tank size of 240 gallons for a single adult. Prices start at $2,000 and up.
The right lighting can help your new Arowana acclimate and also accentuate color. Expect to pay $249 and up.
A wet/dry freshwater filtration system rated for tanks up to 400 gallons starts at $400.
Aeration is also important. The Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water Applications costs $55.
Arowana prefer alkaline water with a temperature of around 86°F (30°C). Multi-parameter tank monitors start at $127.
Fine sand or gravel with live or soft artificial plants is ideal to maximize free-swimming space.
A 20-pound bag of sand starts at $16. A plant variety pack such as the Florida 10 Species Live Aquarium Plants Bundle starts at $30.
Ongoing Asian Arowana Costs
These are common ongoing Asian Arowana fish-keeping costs.
Common pet reptile foods are suitable for Arowana. Dried mealworms in bulk cost $60 per 11-lb. pack. A can of crickets like the Zoo Med Can O’ Crickets Reptile & Bird Food, 1.2-oz can costs $4.70. Bloodworms (mosquito larvae) start at $3 per 3.5-oz blister pack.
Floating food sticks created for Arowana can often enhance adult color. Prices start at $35.
If your Arowana needs veterinary care, expect to pay between $20 and $80 per visit.
In Asian lore, the Arowana represents good luck, wealth, and prosperity just like the mythical dragon it resembles. It is very popular among Feng Shui practitioners and business people for these reasons.
It is also important to know that presently, the Asian Arowana is not legal to own or keep in the United States. Importing Arowana into the U.S. and getting caught can mean fines and/or jail time.
However, there is evidence to suggest that keeping silver Arowana fish and black Arowana fish may be legal in the USA. But even if keeping is not banned at a federal level, it may be at a local level to control invasive populations. Always check first with your local and state government.
The fish is still legal to own or breed in many other countries, including Canada. Fish are typically bred on carefully controlled Arowana farms in Asia and often come micro-chipped and complete with pedigree papers just like cats and dogs!