Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning

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Carp, or as the Japanese would say Koi Fish, tattoos have become a popular option among people willing to get a tattoo. Intricate shapes and bright colors are the things that captivate everyone’s attention at once. But why are these amazing pieces of art so widespread among tattoo-lovers and what symbolism hides behind Koi fish tattoos?

Legend and General Meaning

Koi fish tattoos are believed to bring good luck and stand for strong will and determination. The ancient Japanese legend says Koi fish was able to climb up the waterfalls even despite strong currents aspiring to become a dragon. The Koi used all its strength to fight its way up the stream and reach the top. The Chinese version of this legend opens up a bit more: the fish swam up along the Yellow River fighting with strong currents, reached the Dragon Gate and turned into a beautiful dragon.

That means such a tattoo is ideal for those people who are striving to become better and willing to be or are ambitious, strong, courageous and determined.

Top 3 Colors Chosen for Koi Fish Tattoos

  • Black. This color represents a successful overcoming of some difficult life issue which may come with pain and struggle, but be a symbol of an accepted and finished challenge.
  • Red. This color is common for love expressed by people with a strong nature. Red is thought to be the strongest and most energetic color used in vivid contemporary tattoos.
  • Blue. This color stands for reproduction and masculinity. If the blue Koi is swimming down, it stands for the problem that has been solved by the person having this tattoo. If the blue Koi is swimming up, it suggests a dominant nature.

Top 3 Popular Koi Fish Tattoos Types


This Koi fish tattoo resorts to the above mentioned legend about the fish swimming up the strong current and turning into a dragon as a result. That means this tattoo symbolizes a successful fulfillment of the set goals and overcoming the obstacles on one’s way. As a rule coupled with such meanings as rebirth and a new chapter of one’s life dragons represent power and ferocity with the help of which one can do the impossible to meet his/her destiny despite all odds.


Lotus can be often seen in tattoos as it is the flower that grows in muddy ponds, but captivates the eye by its beauty. When it is coupled with Koi fish such a tattoo symbolizes purity and determination.

Water and fire

The balance of water and fire stands for harmony and union of opposing energies.

Koi Fish Tattoo: What Does It Mean?
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