40 Fantastic Fish Tattoo Ideas for Men & Women in 2023
Tattoos of fish are extremely popular around the world for several reasons. There are a wide variety of beautiful meanings associated with the fish symbol, discovered throughout the length of history. Of course, different types of fish are connected to different mythologies, but almost all of them are associated with serenity. Aside from that, fish have also long been used as a symbol of fertility, harmony and transformation. There is a vast variety of these elegant water creatures, and each is a unique and rich source of art inspiration.
But before you go and get your own Fish tattoo, let us help guide you in choosing the perfect piece of ink. Below we’ll show you the most captivating Fish tattoo ideas for 2023. You’ll surely be inspired with the perfect idea of which tattoo style to get, as well as where to get tattooed on your body.
With that said, let’s begin.
Biceps Tattoo of Black and Gold Koi Fish
My first thought looking at this tattoo is: “Wow what beautiful colors!” I absolutely adore the combination of black and gold, which makes the koi fish appear so graceful and elegant. The white highlight is also nicely used, creating a shiny, wet look on the body and tail. Props to the artist for doing a great job!
Custom Blackwork Tattoo of Striped Fish on Back of Arm
Our first tattoo catches my attention very quickly. I really like the perspective of this design because its unique angle makes it seem like we’re swimming underwater with this fish. Not to mention the beautiful patterns on the fish’s body, where blackwork and dotwork are skilfully combined. Placing it on the back of this client’s arm is a nice decision making the tattoo easy to be admired.
Neo-Traditional Inner Arm Tattoo of Big-Eyed Fish
This adorable, big-eyed fish looks like he’s straight out of a kids’ beloved cartoon. I like the typical Neo-Traditional color palette seen here, muted yet surprisingly well-saturated. There’s such a nice color contrast among the different elements of the design, don’t you think? My favorite details are those inked in bright yellow – the pet bells and those rounded puppy-dog eyes. The little floating crystal-clear bubbles are also such a nice touch too!
Japanese Watercolor Ankle Tattoo of Two Fish and Bamboo Trees
I love everything about this tattoo. First of all, the color palette is simple but so effective. Varying shades of blue direct our attention to the head of the fish, each inked in black. The skillful linework gives this tattoo such an elegant, delicate feel. Of course, the tattoo wouldn’t look that satisfying without the Watercolor effect, giving it a breath of life analogous to the sea itself. Wonderful work done by Korean artist IG: @seolheetattoo
Custom Inner Arm Tattoo of Whale and Planets
We know, we know, whales are NOT fish; they’re mammals! But we can’t pass on this tattoo because of its absolutely attention-grabbing, eye-catching, jaw-dropping color palette. I love the use of the neon colors which are perfectly offset by the black lines and bold patterns. I’m similarly impressed by the lack of outlines, making the colors pop even more. If you fall in love with this style like we did (regardless of whether or not the subject is a fish), check out the artist’s page right here for more inspiration IG: @dariastahp
Geometric Black and Gray Forearm Tattoo of Two Fish
With Geometric style, it seems like everything looks interconnected, and this design is no exception. I really enjoy looking at this symmetrical composition, made possible by the use of adept linework and dotwork. Do you notice how the fish are placed as if within the sun, making them the focal point of the tattoo? Nicely Done
Black and Gray Tattoo of Arowana Fish on Inner Arm
Here comes something that might bring you a whole year of luck and fortune! Do you know that in Chinese culture the Arowana fish is believed to represent great prosperity? Even if you’re not into symbolism, this fish still looks amazing with its long, thin shape and beautifully rounded tail. I love how realistic this tattoo looks, as if it’s been pulled from an illustrated science book!
Linework High Ankle Tattoo of Marble Patterned Fish
I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, what mesmerizing marble patterns!” I absolutely love the use of Blackwork in this design – so subtle, but so effective. The Linework is also well executed, successfully creating a realistic, graceful look for the fish’s fins and tail. If you like this specific design, you should check out the artist’s collection, which features animals of all kinds tattooed in similar style. IG: @nikoletta.kapor.
Custom Tattoo of Goldfish and Plants as Part of Full-Sleeve
There are a lot of things that I like about this tattoo. Firstly, I really like the unexpected use of colors; the plants in black and gray while the fish is inked with beautiful shades of green. This immediately directs one’s attention to the fish, making it the centerpiece of the tattoo. Secondly, the dotwork is incredibly creative and well-executed. It’s used in a negative-spaced design to represent the sun behind the fish. Last but not least, the bold outlines on some of the leaves are such a nice unexpected touch.
Watercolor Tattoo of Two Goldfish on Shoulder
Here’s another lovely Watercolor tattoo that’s graceful and feminine-looking. This one features a bit more color, with shades of pastel blue, pink and purple. I really like how the colors are associated with growth; the mature fish is in blue with very light shades of pink, while the small fish is mostly in pink, transitioning to purple and blue. I also enjoy how the small fish follows the curves of the shoulder.
Minimal Cartoon Tattoo of Goldfish over Biceps
This one has to be among the most adorable tattoos that we have on the list. The simple yet lovely design is for anyone who likes a light-hearted, minimalistic tattoo. The bubbles are my favorite details – do you notice how they turn the color of the fish from yellow to blue? Korean artist IG: @anivtat really pulls off this style with her delightful series of original designs. Check out her works for more inspiration!
Cartoon Tattoo of Swimming Fish on Outer Forearm
So you want something just as cute, but with multiple fish instead of just one? We got your back! Here comes another delightful design that’s going to make you smile. I really like how it’s positioned as we’ll get a different perspective of the tattoo depending on whether or not the client raises their arm. It looks like the fish are swimming up from a pond right now, but when the client puts their arm down, it would seem like the fish are pouring down from the sky!
Blackwork Brush Tattoo of Fish and Crescent Moon
Continuing with our section of minimalistic tattoos, this design steals my heart almost immediately. I adore the brush effect that makes this fish look like it’s straight out of Chinese calligraphy. The design seems simple but is so rich with texture; the Crescent moon then adding a touch of elegance. The artist did such an amazing job of creating and executing this tattoo!
Minimal Linework Fish Tattoo on Forearm
I honestly find so much delight in one-line tattoos. Take this one as an example, there’s something so fascinating about its simplicity. My favorite thing to do when looking at one-line tattoos is to figure out the points where the line starts and ends – do you notice them in this design? If you like minimal linework, I’d recommend you check out the artist’s page, IG: @gigi_tattooer where you can find hundreds of gems just like this one!
New School Tattoo of Colorful Fish on Inner Arm
The New School style absolutely looks great for this tattoo, featuring a vivid color palette that really helps the design stand out. A small tip for those of you who love fish tattoos, here’s an Instagram profile that exclusively collects beautiful designs of these water creatures, IG: @fishingtattoos
Light Black and Gray Tattoo of Fish with Fine-Line Flowers
This one is such a delightful design to look at. The black and gray fish is done so smoothly, it’s almost difficult to distinguish it from the adjacent flowers. The constellation of stars also adds a very elegant touch to this lovely, graceful tattoo.
Light Black and Gray Tattoo of Two Fish on Back of Arm
I’m almost at a loss for words looking at this tattoo. The patterns on the fish are done so well, highlighted with exquisitely subtle shading. I love the splashes of water and the black lines intersecting in the middle, bringing so much grace and life to the design. The flow of this design along the back of the arm is…Poetry In Motion
Custom Forearm Tattoo of Angelfish with Bubbles and Sparkles
Brazilian artist IG: @mariatatua specializes in Blackwork, as well as animal and botanical tattoos. This one is from her fabulous collection! I really like the stripes and the graceful depiction of the fins, not to mention the addition of sparkles and bubbles around the fish that makes this tattoo so adorable!
Neo-Traditional Tattoo of Anglerfish and Plants
Remember that scary fish with a lightbulb in “Finding Nemo”? Well that’s an anglerfish which has always been such a terrifying yet spectacular subject for tattoo designs. I personally love the muted color palette in this Neo-Traditional tattoo, creating such an eerie vibe!
Black and Gray Fish Tattoo on Forearm
Even if you want to limit your tattoo design to one color, it doesn’t have to be black. This tattoo of a fish stands out thanks to the muted gray tone that’s used. The thin lines are even and provide textur without the addition of shading. Awesome work by Artist IG: @localbirdmom
Black and Gray Tattoo of Koi Fish over Biceps
As you might have already noticed, koi fish are a very popular subject for tattoos, perhaps because they’re believed to represent perseverance and courage. This one is a beautiful example of how great a koi fish tattoo can look on your forearm. The black ink is subtle and then diluted to achieve the varying tones of gray. The muted inking and curved lines together create an elegant design.
Black and Gray Tattoo of Fish, Leaves and Planets on Arm
I feel like there are elements from different styles here: the planets, circles and Linework remind me of Geometric style, while the sparkles and stars look like they’re elements of Ornamental style. Most importantly, the fish are so well executed; I especially love the gradient of black color over the fish’s body adding an elegant touch to the overall tattoo.
Black and Gray Tattoo of Patterned Pufferfish
I absolutely adore this pufferfish – look how cute it is! Even the spines don’t look threatening, appearing more like lovely little decorations across its tiny body. I also love the floral patterns, don’t they look like beautiful textured tiles? Great job by the artist IG: @e.o.orient
Color Tattoo on Forearm of Brook Trout and a Purple Parachute Adams
This color tattoo is really eye-catching thanks to the beautiful patterns on the brook trout – the subtle white highlights making everything so much shinier! The addition of the purple parachute adams is also a nice light-hearted addition. The artist even took into consideration the actual size ration between the fish and the parachute adams!
Fineline Black and Gray Forearm Tattoo of Fishes, Flowers and Butterflies
There is such a feminine, elegant energy to this tattoo, perhaps coming from the well-executed Fineline design. I really like how the fish and the butterflies are made as if they inhabit the same place. If there were such a place on earth, it must be only for beautiful creatures like these!
Adorable Linework Fish Tattoo on Inner Arm
This is one of the loveliest tattoos in our collection. I absolutely love the fish’s big round eyes and forked tail, super-adorable. The thin lines making up the design are even and add a delicate feel to the tattoo. If you like the Linework, check out the artist’s site for more inspiration; IG: @bean_goblin_tattoos
Black and Gray Forearm Tattoo of Whale Shark, Flowers and Seaweed
I love how graceful the whale shark in this tattoo looks, complemented by its natural “accessories” of flowers and seaweed. I also really enjoy the dotted patterns on the fish’s body, which create the appearance of a beautifully patterned coat. It’s really amazing how much detail is packed within the smaller sections of this pattern. With beautiful shading and creative use of negative or uninked space, this tattoo is a winner.
Black and Gray Fish Tattoo
Australian tattooist IG: @justinetattoo does amazing work, this one pulled from her original collection. The subtle black inking, highlighted with varying shades of gray, creates a muted art piece. Add to that, the reflection of light off the fish’s eye, and this tattoo will have you taking repeated looks.
Linework Goldfish Tattoo on Forearm
Now, this is simply an elegant piece. I absolutely adore the Blackwork and Linework that form the fish’s skin, fins, and tail. This ink piece is one of the unique designs taken from @maid.of.flowers, a talented tattooist based in Brooklyn, New York. Check out her wonderful page for more inspiration!
Cartoon Tattoo of Marlin and Dory from “Finding Nemo”
What kind of fish tattoo collection would we have if we leave out the all-time most famous cartoon fish? Marlin and Dory look absolutely adorable in this piece. I love the sketchy vibe of the tattoo, making it look like a page from a kid’s book. How Lovely
Black and Gray Forearm Tattoo of Nurse Shark with Whip-Shading
This is probably one of my favorites on the list. The design seems so simple but actually requires lots of skill. I absolutely adore how whip shading is used to create the stippled surface of both the shark as well as its reflection. I wonder though how it will heal over time; I definitely hope the shading holds up.
Blackwork Brush Tattoo of Two Koi Fish on Shoulder
Hands down, this tattoo has the coolest use of negative space I’ve ever seen! I absolutely adore how the outlines of the fish are so subtle, that they really do seem like random spaces in between the black brushstrokes. There is such a nice aesthetic to this piece, we have to give props to the artist IG: @ati.ful
Linework Forearm Tattoo of Astronaut and Red-Inked Goldfish
There’s no doubt that this is a very creative design: an encounter between an astronaut and a goldfish. I really like how the fish’s head is positioned within the helmet, making it seem like they’re from different universes. Of course the red ink is an instant hit here. The Linework in this piece is absolutely gorgeous, too. Props to the artist Kevin Pang from Hong Kong, IG: @pangspen
Black and Gray Tattoo of Two Fish on Side Elbow Crease
I love tattoos that make us think of a story the moment we see them. This one looks to me like a lovely romance, with two fish gracefully and gently touching each other with their fins. The use of white ink also adds a shiny look to their backs. What’s more, the composition of the design flows really well with its placement.
Custom Color Tattoo of Fish Appearing as Leaves
I adore the design of this piece! Whoever created it must have insane imagination and creativity. I love how we can interpret the tattoo as either a branch of leaves or a trail of long-tailed fish. The color palette is absolutely gorgeous, too. For more brilliant designs like this one, you can visit IG: @eden_tattoo_ to scroll through the artist’s beautiful page!
Illustrative Tattoo of Colorful Fish on Lower Leg
There’s some influence of New School style in this Illustrative zany depiction of a fish that’s been sliced open. The color choices are on point, immediately capturing my attention with its vivid color palette. The bold black outlines similarly make this design a standout.
Realistic Arm Tattoo of Siamese Fighting Fish
This tattoo undoubtedly perfectly depicts the beauty of real-life siamese fighting fish, from their vibrant colors to their graceful fan-like tails. I also adore the very interesting detail of the little puddle forming below the fish. Are the fish underwater or not? That’s something interesting the design leaves open for interpretation.
Minimal Linework Tattoo of Fish in a Tea Bag
The design is without question among the most adorable on the list. I love how the tiny tea bag becomes the whole world of a goldfish, and how a little drawing of the fish can be found on the label, too. Of course, the Linework is satisfyingly clean and neat!
Black and Gray Tattoo of Koi Fish on Outer Forearms
I love the placement of these tattoos, and how they look like parts of the same design if the client puts her elbows together. This can also be an amazing idea for anyone who’s looking for a couple’s design, where one half wouldn’t look complete without the other. The style here is also interesting as the artist incorporates both Linework and a bit of Blackwork with the predominant Black and Gray employed.. What a wonderful job!
Black and Gray Tattoo of Baby Humanoid Fish
Last but definitely not least, this baby reverse-mermaid tattoo is quite something to adore. All the details are so nicely done, but my favorite is probably the plump little pointed toes, which immediately created such a nice sense of upward movement. It’s the little things that breathe life into designs!
We hope you found what you were looking for and had as much fun looking at these tattoos as we had writing about them. until next time, happy inking!