Fish might be the proverbial first pet that kids win at the school fair, but if you give them the love, attention, and care they deserve, they are likely to live a longer and much more fruitful life in your home aquarium. Freshwater aquariums are the easiest for beginner fish owners to maintain, so buying a freshwater fish might be a worthwhile investment, especially if you’re interested in keeping more than one fish as a pet.
Though they range in price from the reasonable to the extreme, there are several freshwater fish that would do well in a home aquarium. Just be sure to provide them with the space they need for their size, and be mindful of your own bank account in the process!
Keep scrolling to find out which beautiful fish will take your life savings!
10 Wolf Cichlid – $20
The Wolf Cichlid is a gold and black speckled fish that is a relatively cheap buy for the average pet owner. However, you might want to think twice before you purchase this pet for yourself.
Wolf Cichlids are famous for being extremely aggressive toward humans and other fish, so if you try to buy buddies for your Wolf Cichlid, they might get bullied. They are also known to try to bite your fingers when fed, so maybe that $20 price tag is justified, given you’ll have to spend money at the doctor to treat your cichlid bites!
9 Vampire Tetra – $75+
If you are a fan of the popular Bram Stoker novel, Dracula, then this is the fish for you. Characterized by its sharp set of teeth, the Vampire Tetra is hard to care for and usually doesn’t survive long in captivity.
It’s recommended that only experts try to give this fish a home, as they eat fresh fish for food, and are otherwise picky with their diet. They are not welcoming and prefer to have a tank to themselves, so consider yourself warned if you’d rather own a chill, tranquil fish pal.
8 Pleco – $100+
Plecos can come from different breeds, which influence their outer appearances. Though to some they may look like a saltwater ocean fish, they are actually suitable for a freshwater aquarium! A smaller pleco like the Bristle nose is better for a home aquarium due to its more modest size.
Though most plecos sell for around $100, although rarely one may sell for a few grand. This is absolutely not typical, however, so if you see a high price tag on these peaceful fish, it might be best to take your business elsewhere.
7 African Cichlid – $120+
There are many types of African Cichlids, but they usually command a similar price of around $100-120 if they are a rarer, more sought after breed. Some of them, like the Mbuna, are easily found in pet stores and as such, will not cost that much.
African cichlids can live around 5-10 years and on average, grow to be around 6-7 inches long. Their personality can range on the more aggressive side, but not as aggressive as the Wolf Cichlid.
6 Red Texas Cichlid – $88 – $400
These bright red fish are definitely aesthetically pleasing, but their high price is based on limited availability. Since they are hybrids, bred from the Flowerhorn Cichlid and the Texas Cichlid, they are not readily available and are only seasonally bred.
If you do happen to get your hands on a Red Texas, just know they are aggressive, like other cichlids, and can live up to 10 years! Their length maxes out around a foot long, but the price above is more reflective of the 6-inch size cichlid.
5 Flowerhorn Cichlid – $200 – $500+
The Flowerhorn is an exotic Malaysian fish that can live for around 7 years under the right circumstances. They are prized for their vibrant neon hues and come in a rainbow of reds, yellows, pinks, blues, and oranges.
These fish might be attractive, but like the Wolf and Red Texas Cichlid, have very hostile personalities. They would rather have their own tank than share their space with other fish. That might not be hard with their exorbitant price!
4 Mated Discus Pairs – $500 – $1000+
Discus fish are beautiful, brightly colored, and extremely social within their own species. Originating from South America, these fish are pretty likely to mate in an aquarium setting if the conditions are right.
Because of this, mated pairs of Discus are valuable for their ability to produce new Discus. However, they can be challenging to care for, so keep that in mind if you happen to be interested in these lovely fish! They can live for around 10 years if cared for properly, so make sure you’re in for the long commitment.
3 Polka Dot Stingray – $100,000
Though Saltwater Stingrays are more popular in common lore, there are also freshwater varieties that some like to keep in larger home aquariums. The rare Polka Dot Stingray commands a hefty $100,000 price tag, but it is harder to find and purchase.
Stingrays are venomous, however, so be careful how you handle this delicate creature. There haven’t been any serious injuries reported, but your wound might become a bit numb if you happen to make the wrong move.
2 Platinum Arowana – $300,000
Known in China as the “dragon fish,” the Arowana is one of the most-known exotic freshwater fish and is popular due to its unique appearance. Arowanas are so valuable that they are sometimes traded on the black market, and owners occasionally find themselves targetted by thieves.
The Platinum Arowana is the most valuable, with a rumored value of $300,000. Arowana are not legally allowed in the States, so we don’t suggest smuggling one into your home aquarium anytime soon.
1 Koi – $20,000 – $1 million+
Koi, a type of carp, are known for being noble and brave figures in Japanese culture, but if you want to own the prized fish, your wallet must be just as brave. Regular koi can demand extreme prices when marketed on their own, but the price tag on the golden carp is at another level!
The most expensive regular Koi ever sold was around $1.8 million. What makes them so prized is their breeding, coloring, and family lineage. The rare golden carp can go for as much $2 million, a staggering amount of money to pay for a pet, or pretty much anything in general.