Why Dragon Fish Are So Expensive | So Expensive

Why Dragon Fish Are So Expensive | So Expensive

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 amount of crime around the areas where it’s bred. Narrator: That’s Emily Voigt,
who explores this world for her book, “The
Dragon Behind the Glass.” We’re talking murder and
midnight fish-napping. This wasn’t always the case, however. Up until the second half
of the 20th century, these fish weren’t flaunted. They were fileted and eaten by locals. Then, in 1967, an aquarium trader traveling through northern Malaysia saw a dead arowana at a
food market and found it so attractive that he sought
one out to keep as a pet. By the 1980s, arowanas
had turned up in Taiwan, and eventually people
all over Asia wanted one. In particular, the red and
gold varieties of arowana came to symbolize luck and
wealth in several Asian cultures. Voigt: All that has led to a
whole mythology about the fish. It’s supposed to bring
good luck and prosperity, even to jump out of its
tank to save its owner. Narrator: Nowadays, breeding for new color combinations is all the rage. Like this fish, called the chili red, which you can get for around $1,400 each. Or the emerald violet fusion super red, which goes for about $12,000 each. But no fish is more rare and
valuable than the albino. In 2009, one of these
supposedly set a record, selling for $300,000 to an anonymous high ranking official in
the Chinese government. In fact, most people who buy dragon fish are middle-class Chinese men, who’ll collect the fish
as a status symbol. Voigt: So keeping this fish
is very much a macho hobby. There’s not a lot of women that do it. And it’s almost like collecting
cars or something like that. Narrator: So in the
mid-90s, when dragon fish were successfully bred in
captivity on certified farms, it was a big deal,
because they were becoming rare in the wild due to overfishing and harvesting for the pet trade. Since then, more demand has led to breeding operations
all over Southeast Asia. And while it’s perfectly
legal to buy a dragon fish in the area, it may not be
in other non-Asian countries. In the US, for example, you can only find the Asian arowana on the black market. And in fact, you can’t bring
it into the country legally, because it’s banned by the
US Endangered Species Act. People have actually gone to prison for trafficking this fish. So if you have an itch to have a dragon-like pet, maybe you should stick to something safer, like bearded dragons.

Randy Schultz

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100 thoughts on “Why Dragon Fish Are So Expensive | So Expensive

  1. Unhappy Edgard says:

    I remember going to a restaurant where they have an albino dragonfish

  2. Maki Sato says:

    i grew up in msia during the 80's, we had 1 in an aquarium. It was just a pet fish, like any other fish.

  3. Kai says:

    It’s because some humans are stupid.

  4. Js2 says:

    Ignorance is a disease that spreads rapidly.

  5. mark bautista says:

    Hello they are nowhere near endangered. Theyre bred.

    I once had a $1,200 arowana with pricey maintenance… i killed her on the 4th year by forgetting to clean the tank. Coz i was busy.. poor thing.. it felt like having a dog coz it recognizes you. 😢😢

  6. Hope Kgaogelo says:

    1988: "Some fields of study have not yet existed, I can only imagine how advanced we will be in 30 years from now"
    2019: "I am majoring to become a Dragon fish expert"

  7. F _WA says:

    Nice video…^_^

  8. KSIX says:

    Bwahahaha this is so funny! I would have never guessed this was a thing.

  9. bob makin says:

    Get your facts Right…fish aquarium lovers are hardcore Nazis …this video is full of excrement

  10. Rick Sanchez says:

    Yeah it so expensive, my dad bought a gold 1 for 8000 USD from his friend last month now my dad love that fish more than me.

  11. darthward66 eso says:

    They are actually called arowana

  12. Mason Plank says:

    Theres a Chinese restaurant where I live and the owner have 3 of these that are whitelist silver color and the best table is next to the HUGE TANK they are in

  13. Son of a Quack says:

    Damn just say arowanas not “dragon”

  14. Gettin BeyWay says:

    I think the most expensive Arowana is the Platinum Arowana. At a convention center in Japan, a rich Japanese man offered the breeder $800,000, but the breeder declined and said it’s not for sale.

  15. Damon Tan says:

    Wtf in my country we can have the arowana but all the insects, reptiles which I want are banned

  16. Hank Vandermeulen says:

    Those prices are very unrealistic

  17. Hank Vandermeulen says:

    If its illegal why does the king of DIY have them

  18. Pertamax7 says:

    Ok sir

  19. MrYehYehYeah says:

    Endangered species? These breeders are breeding millions of them isn’t it? They not going to be extinct.

  20. commercialfree says:

    first time hearing that the arowanas are called dragon fish.

  21. Jackson Hunter says:

    Lol that's a arowana

  22. Jackson Hunter says:

    The dragonfish is a deep sea fish

  23. richard adjei says:

    I love salmon tho

  24. Anandy Gittens says:

    When he said we are talking murders and midnight fish snapping I laughed so hard lololol.

  25. asi somos tijuana says:


  26. Danish Raza says:

    It is not that expensive, can get it in any nearby acquarium shop

  27. Devesh Thakur says:

    Video is not good

  28. Timothy Soh says:

    Lol I eat this fish

  29. [ ] [ ] says:

    I still cant believe my eyes, i just one of these bad boys lol 12k for a fish?!!! U kidding me?

  30. shivam mp says:

    Such a ordinary looking fish for such a high cost..

    Really? U kidding….🤨🤨

  31. Yanara Vox says:

    All over Asia well you did not mark a lot of countries wich are from Asia.

  32. Kek Istan says:

    I stopped watching when they mentioned plastic surgery.

  33. Prem Kenneth says:

    I am sure people cannot afford to buy it due to inflation other mixed problem maybe related to the issues or not

  34. Sonny N. says:

    How the hell a fish jumping out water to safe it’s owner ? 🤔

  35. MITCHELL WIGGS says:

    Essentially, mythology leads to death and corruption if allowed to spread in any medium

  36. Jerry Yan says:

    Oh man, what has the world come to? Fishnapping though? 😶👀😐😌

  37. jayden chow says:

    Or u know buy a silver arrow.

  38. XūEūNūTūOūX says:

    wait, people used to eat it? damn, did it taste good tho?

  39. Kate abrielle says:

    We have an arowana in our house, my grandfather bought it when it was little and it is so big now. A chinese man offered him large amount of money to buy it but he didnt sell it cuz he believes it is our business’ lucky charm

  40. AquaLethal says:

    This video is so untrue. You can buy them at local fish stores in the us for like 60 bucks

  41. Commander Erik says:

    I ate those fish when i was young back in china, and now it is THIS expensive????

  42. Captain Weird says:

    Good thing I’m in Canada

  43. stanway cen says:

    imagine saying asiam arowana in from of police…

  44. johnny cash says:

    The fish, i dont like cars especially audis

  45. Teddy Kurniawan says:

    My family have this fish and have a chip inplant on it. 1 dragon fish in a big damn aquarium.

  46. Earth_dimension -C137 says:

    You can buy silver arowana in usa

  47. chespinx says:

    For people trying to correct the fish name… did you even watch the video?

  48. Dante Camacho says:

    King of DIT

  49. Min Thant Hein says:

    Glittering silver color is more expensive here and we call them lucky fish

  50. jennie says:

    I live in the us and there’s a pet store with one of these fish in there, she’s not for sale though 😳

  51. World Aquarium Singapore says:

    Yes u should see super red grade 1 dragon fishes as well "D

  52. P. A. says:

    I dont understand how it resembles a dragon.

  53. Egg MCMUFFIN says:


  54. Thrashy Art says:

    Lol that shit cost 70k? We used to have this huge ass arowana we called useless cause it has no use

  55. Psycor says:

    I’ve never heard Arowana called Dragon Fish.

  56. 3xe says:

    Duh it's a dragon fish, it can fly

  57. Crafter Blox says:

    Wait so they are expensive??
    I see them in a restaurant even though it's one but it's really not protected any criminal just grabs the fish from the aquarium and leave sooooooo did the one that I saw is a fake one or is it just not guarded that much?

  58. Dreamstate says:

    You can see these swimming in a tank in the background in the first scene of the animated movie Ghost In The Shell.

  59. Vin Martolia says:

    from which angle this fish looks like a dragon😱😱😱

  60. pigspigs76 says:

    Ridiculous .. everything worth money is subjective. Branding and marketing is driving the demand and that's it … The fish is trash compared to Koi imo

  61. Syarqin Reyn Chow says:

    Come to malaysia,bukit merah,this fish we eat daily

  62. Mout M. says:

    Money really make do people weird things.

  63. zoe v says:

    seen these at several pet stores in the us… they were all for sale for $1,000 or less.

  64. Greyson Claude Santayana says:

    arowana is a luckyfish

  65. Ramil Jimenez says:

    I'll stick to my mariwana

  66. Katarzyna Maria says:

    a new car

  67. Dein says:

    I'm from Malaysia.. ehhhh

  68. Bakahoe _Katsushit says:

    My great grandfather has two dragon fishes
    Edit:Holy shit my great grandfather has albinos and which is apparently the most rare

  69. gabh4x says:

    Dude, i have this fish in my aquarium. Is it really worth that much?.

  70. steffen steve says:

    I can't believe this?

  71. Issa Doubleo says:

    Fucc I look like payin 70k for a Nemo fish, they trippn 😂😂

  72. Aiden Howlett says:

    People at Malaysia still eats them, only the Chinese restaurants display those dragon fish. And golden and red isn't that rare and same goes to platinum. They're are expensive in China because Chinese think platinum is the ultimate fortune, Goodluck and wealth.

  73. Robert Chan says:

    in america anything you smuggle on other country that you buy illegal are super illegal even Kinder Surprise which is easy to buy on PH or other country at any super market for a chocolate which you get toys to collect. if they got paranoia on choking hazard its better not to give on a child who for no reason like to eat a small toy.

  74. Darkri Drago says:

    My local pet store actually has a beautiful silver arowana in their private tank that was actually a rescue fish because somebody didn't realize how big it was going to get

  75. John Clinton says:

    buy at petco for $60

  76. laughthis138 says:

    People have gone to jail for smuggling bearded dragons

  77. Juan Sotelo says:

    Sooo chinese dads buy dragon fish when they reach middle age crisis instead of cars or fancy cloth

  78. The Whispering Sylph says:

    But… Silver Arowana is cheap, and not to mention the wild Arowanas are still eaten and sold by indigeneous Amazonian tribes.

  79. Jye S says:

    I’ve seen a dragon fish in New York City once, now I wonder the fish owner get it in the US?

  80. Christophorus Nicko says:

    fish thief "hmm i smell something fishy $$$"

  81. bloxy kid says:

    buy arowanas here in my country cheapest I saw was 37 dollars was about to buy it 🙂

  82. Crayo says:

    I had a dragon fish that hosted 200 RM which is like 50$

  83. All Night Cats says:

    “That may sound like overkill, but it’s really not.” I’m sure that was supposed to refer to the security for the fish. But he said it right after mentioning pet cosmetic surgery and and sounds like he is condoning it. That’s animal abuse btw.

  84. problematic princess says:

    Their so odd looking :3 I'd love to have one mostly because of how in danger their are I'd love to have one or 2 to look after them

  85. chester bredes says:

    Here in my Country take care of that fish it brings Goodluck and unlimited wealth
    -asian superstition

  86. Lucian Blackreign says:

    I cant believe i was brought here with this stupid video that involves fish, so you think that fish is much more expensive than human life

  87. Michelle W says:

    Wth they smoking out there🤔😂

  88. TwentyOneDunPuns says:

    Friend: Hey, can you hang out today?
    Me: sorry, can’t. Taking my fish in for a face lift

  89. Guiding Angel says:

    In the philippines you can buy those asian arowanna for 5 dollars when they are small

  90. Dan Thunder says:

    Nah bearded Dragons looks like western Dragon which are symbol of evil or ferocious creatures in western past. While the Dragon fish looks like the Eastern dragon which are divine holy creatures in Eastern culture so yah, that's one of the reason for the choice

  91. Tim Drake says:

    I remembered feeding our arowana with a smaller fish and pork cubes

  92. Keenan Cregorie Balmores says:

    Idk koi r still more expensive but this fishes r so cool!

  93. Boaz Farzalla says:

    0:52 was a picture of a concentration camp…. Just saying not really a good picture for you'r point

  94. Buddy Love says:

    I don't know that this fish is high value..keep them as pet is quite common here in malaysia…

  95. Just here Chillin says:

    Just buy one girl and one boy. Easy rich scheme.

  96. chicken 5610 says:

    When it said dragon I was like that’s a Asian arowona not dragon

  97. Stella Noorem says:

    That is not a albino and its not called dragon fish🤦🏼‍♀️

  98. leg thread says:


  99. FluuChi _Sensei says:

    woawoa this video is so racist HAHAHAHHAHAHA

  100. Emerald Sans says:

    What about the REAL dragonfish

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