140 Fish tattoos (and their meanings): whale, catfish

As the first form of life in the world, all that lives in the sea is an important part of human history. Our love story with poisons has evolutionary origins. Many anthropologists believe that the incorporation of fish, with its high content of omega fatty acids (which feeds the development of the brain) in the diet of men is one of the forces that led to their development. But fish have become more than a dish on our plates: in many cultures of the world, they are an expression of our spirituality.

At the beginning of Christianity, being identified as a believer ensured to everyone a meeting with death. Many Christians then lived in fear of persecution, so finding a way to discern friends from enemies was a difficult process. The fish, which comes from the link between Jesus and the Sea of ​​Galilee, became, at that time, a way to safely show his belonging to the Christian faith without running the risk of being spotted. Christ was a "fisherman of men" and it is not a coincidence that one of his most famous miracles is to feed the multitude by multiplying breads and fish.

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The natural element Water is considered by many people as a representation of our emotions and our subconscious. This is why animals living in or near water are often seen as an expression of our mental state. There are several sea animals that are notorious symbols of the subconscious: the starfish, the whale, the seahorse and the shark are all animals considered as refuges in troubled waters or beings capable of causing a deluge of water. emotional uncertainty. This philosophy still exists in Asian cultures, where the sea dominates many aspects of local religions and traditions.

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In many cultures of Africa and East India, fish is seen as a symbol of creation, transformation and fertility. The Hindu god Vishnu turned into fish (Matsya) and thus saved the world from a terrible flood. Fish are also a symbol of abundance.

The Babylonians and the Sumerians revered Enki, god of creation, while the ancient Egyptians considered the starfish as a symbol of renewal and healing. In some parts of China, honeymooners receive fish as gifts, to attract prosperity and bless their marriage, in the hope that they will have many children. Marine animals are also seen as the repositories of ancient knowledge.

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Meaning of fish tattoo designs

The seemingly simple fish has, over time, acquired many meanings, whose:

  • Abundance and wealth
  • Patience
  • Persistence
  • The ambition
  • The power
  • Strength
  • Regeneration and healing
  • Wisdom
  • Luck and prosperity

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Variation of fish tattoos


The growing popularity of the MTV series Catfish (Catfish) has, without a doubt, given catfish tattoos a totally different meaning. Being "cat-caught" means being fooled by people who claim to be something other than what they really are. But even outside this Western context, catfish is a symbol of negativity and instability. In Japanese mythology, the namazu brings destruction and chaos by causing deadly earthquakes, which is why the image of catfish is intrinsically linked to the country's earthquake warning and prediction system. Catfish tattoos show the world that you are not what you seem to be at first sight.

The hippocampus

As representatives of the Roman god of the sea, Neptune, seahorses bring good luck and symbolize guidance and protection within tumultuous waves. The Chinese revered this little animal and saw it as a kind of wise sea dragon, while European sailors thought that seahorses ensured passage into the afterlife of those who had perished at sea. The tattoos of seahorses symbolize also patience and friendship.

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The shark

In movies and series, sharks are always an element of assured success. And for good reason: sharks cause a feeling of terror in the hearts of men, but are still mysterious and beautiful creatures. Sharks are sacred symbols in many indigenous cultures around the world and, as kings of predators, they represent the indomitable and frightening power of the sea. Shark tattoos are popular among seafarers, many of whom are seals. identifies with the strength and primary power of these majestic animals.

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The starfish

As anchor the, the star of the sea -or Stella Mara– is a revered symbol in maritime culture. As the emblem of the Virgin Maryit represents salvation and a living sanctuary in the midst of tumultuous waters. Ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks admired his ability to regenerate damaged or amputated limbs. This is why the star of the seas is a symbol of healing and regeneration.

The dolphin

Dolphins are among the smartest animals in the world and, of all the creatures of the ocean, these are the ones that occupy the most important place in our hearts. Long before antiquity, men were inspired by these remarkable mammals. They are helpful, highly sociable and free spirits. The sailors think they are lucky and are a good omen for the crossing. The tattoos of dolphins represent freedom, family, frivolity, harmony and intelligence.

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The whale

Whales are powerful ocean spirits and, given their incredible size and presence, it is not surprising that humans are totally fascinated by them. From Iceland to West Africa, many cultures have stories where whales are held in high esteem, as beings from creation and holding old wisdom. They are considered as the expression of the subconscious because they live in the oceans, that is to say in the element of emotions, the Water. Male whales represent creation and intuition and wearing this tattoo means that you have a great awareness of yourself and your role in the universe.

The Koi fish

The image of beautiful and colorful koi fish Graciously swimming in the pond of a garden has become a synonym for Japanese culture, but worship of these remarkable creatures has begun in China. The Chinese legend of the Dragon Gate tells the story of an ambitious and persistent Koi carp who was fighting against the current to pull up a waterfall. After successfully completing this challenge, the Koi carp has become a powerful dragon. Koi fish tattoos represent luck, success, prosperity, ambition and wealth.

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