Being a UK based website we can only speak for the prices in the UK however I am sure they are mapped across to other countries in a similar ratio unless the fish are native to that country or near that country.
To work out the average price of a tropical fish we must first establish what an average fish is – well, this could be tricky because in our opinion there is no such thing! So let’s tackle this in a different way and look at the rough guide price you should expect to pay for each type of fish.
The cost of tropical fish varies greatly and this all comes down to a few factors:
- How common or rare the fish is
- Ease of breeding the fish
- Popularity of the fish
- Quality of the fish and bloodline
If we look at rare fish for example, this will be down to there only being a few in the country, good examples of this are the Petrochromis Moshi Yellow or Petrochromis Red Bulu Point, these will demand a high price tag. We have seen the latter mentioned Red Bulu Point Petros advertised for as much as £150 each for wild caught specimens and this isn’t even shop prices, this was through Aquarist Classifieds! They will generally demand such a high price tag due to the rarity of them and anyone who can get them to breed will make a killing form the fry so it is a risk and an investment at this end of the scale.
If we look at the other end of the scale and take a fish which we are yet to find not being in any of the fish stores we have been to such as the classic Neon Tetra. This will be approximately £2 in most fish stores and there is very few of them seen on the open “secondhand” market due to it being cheaper for most people to drive to the fish store to get them.
As a general rule community fish are the most popular as many people have community aquariums so many fish stores will want to have stock of community fish as a bread and butter staple, as such, many importers and breeders will bring in these types of fish and due to it being in bulk, the prices are lower.
If you consider livebearers, these are very easy to breed fish and as such they are in abundance and so do not fetch a huge price tag, again these will be a couple of pounds each on average which is a bargain considering how colourful and interesting they are.
Another type of tropical fish which is nearer the other end of the scale is fancy plecs such as the Blue Phantom Pleco which will be on average between £50 and £70 in most local fish stores and this is the sort of price you should expect to pay for many L-number plecos or maybe slightly less. You could always go for a less fancy pleco such as the bristlenose pleco which won’t be more than ten pounds.
Another type of fish which tends to hold it’s value quite well are Malawi cichlids. If you are looking to fill a tank then look on eBay or Aquarist Classifieds for someone selling up or changing their set up and you should get a job lot quite cheap (sometimes as low as a couple of pounds per fish). This is often because there are so many different types available and the seller cant remember or cant identify which they are so have to sell as unspecified fish. Having said that, it is quite easy to spend £30 per fish on a good, high quality Malawi fish form a specialist breeder so quality of fish does have an impact as it is clear with African cichlids where a fish has been bred too much and is a long way down the bloodline (f3 or onwards – see our guide to F classification for more info on this) and the colours may be washed out.
The best way to see how much tropical fish will cost you is to take a look at your local fish store and get a feel for it, most stores in the UK are around the same prices and if something seems very expensive then ask someone as thee may be a story behind it such as it being a proven breeding pair for example or an extremely rare fish.