Facelift for your fish, anyone?
The fanciest fish on the market, an Asian arowana could cost you $150,000. With that chunk of change, you could buy yourself 30,000 regular goldfish. The outrageous pricing doesn’t end there; an albino arowana was rumored to have been bought by a Chinese Communist Party official for $300,000.
With our aquatic friends costing that much, it’s not that surprising they would need to look their best. Fish eyelifts, tail tucks, fin jobs, and other plastic surgery practices are much more common in the world of Arowana’s than one would think.
One of Singapore’s premier cosmetic surgeon for Asian arowana’s states that the practices are not cruel to the fish, because now “the fish looks better and its owner will love it even more.”
Why you might ask, would anyone spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a fish with a mustache? The Asian arowana is renowned as the long yu or “dragon fish” carrying with it a history steeped in symbolism. The fish resembles a mythical Chinese dragon and sort of acts like one too. The arowana has a notoriously aggressive personality, pair that with it’s huge, shimmering scales and wispy mustache and the fish is basically breathing fire.
The Asian arowana represents wealth and status; obviously, if you’re spending that much coin on something with gills, you’ve got to be fairly well-off. Wealthy Chinese businessmen, in particular, covet the creature. According to legend, the Asian arowana will “sacrifice their lives by jumping out of tanks to warn owners about a bad business investment or other potential dangers.”
The arowana weren’t always this popular, though. Not that long ago, around 1970, the fish was eaten by locals. It was considered bony and bland, too so it wasn’t that popular of a dish. But, since the Asian arowana is slow to reproduce, it ended up on a list of endangered species and was banned from international trade. This kicked off a mad scramble to own this rare commodity and, since everyone wants what they can’t have, prices for black-market arowana’s skyrocketed. Voila! A lucky, mythological dragon fish was born.
For more fishy tales, check out this diver and his BFF.