There are a tremendous number of ways to depict a fish in body art, and a variety of meanings behind this symbol. Fish are used to represent Christianity, the Pisces zodiac sign, an oriental symbol (koi) of good fortune, and a host of other meanings. An avid fisherman might even use a tattoo of a big mouth bass to represent time spent on his favorite hobby or as a sign of the proverbial fish story exaggerated beyond belief.
Photo by “bdjsb7″ on Flickr
Certainly the most popular type of fish tattoo is in the oriental style, most often a koi or beta, the Siamese fighting fish. Kois are a Buddhist religious symbol that signifies courage. The Japanese consider this fish to represent courage and an ability to attain lofty goals. The kanji character for koi is literally translated as love. The color of the fish is important in the Eastern world, as well. Golden koi are generally associated with wealth, orange, red, and pink are feminine colors, and black, blue, and white are masculine.
Photo by “Tucker Leary” on Flickr
Tribal fish are another option. Their more simplistic style and black ink coloring are less expensive to create and it also means you will spend less time getting them applied. The more detailed the fish, no matter the type, the more skill and time are required.
Photo by “sabotrax” on Flickr
Because fish tattoos can be quite detailed and elaborate, they are appropriate for covering a large area of the body. Smaller tattoos are best done in the tribal art style because it is difficult to show fine detail when the size decreases.
There are so many different kinds of fish and so many different styles you can choose for your tattoo that nearly anyone can find a design they love.