• The Asian arowana, also known as the dragon fish, is the most expensive aquarium fish in the world.
  • The fish is considered a valuable commodity for its red and gold colors — one was rumored to have sold for $300,000 in 2009.
  • Most people who buy dragon fish are middle-class Chinese men, who collect the fish as status symbols.

As far as fish go, the Asian arowana is one of the most expensive aquarium species sold in the pet trade. It is a freshwater fish that has people paying in the tens of thousands of dollars for the most sought after colorations.

Narrator: What would you rather have, a new car, or this fish? Turns out they cost around the same. A single dragon fish can go for tens of thousands of dollars. So, what’s so special about it? Well, it might not look it, but this endangered fish is so coveted, people have actually gone to prison over it.

The dragon fish gets its nickname for how it resembles a dragon in flight as it swims. However, its real name is the Asian arowana. It’s a freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia, and it has taken the aquarium market by storm. Today, these fish are so prized that some have their own motorcades, and breeders protect their stock with layers of concrete walls, complete with guard dogs and watchmen. There’s even a market for cosmetic surgery to help subpar fish who need eye lifts or chin tucks. And that may sound like overkill, but it’s really not.

Emily Voigt: It’s a very valuable commodity, and that had driven a tremendous…