How to Use the Goldfish or Carp Symbol in Feng Shui

Small goldfish swimming above white pebbles

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Feng shui is a practice that was developed in China many centuries ago, but its principles are still meaningful and beneficial to us today and in all areas of the world. Feng shui seeks to create harmonious, supportive environments that are in tune with the natural world. There are many ways to cultivate a connection to nature in our built environments, and one of these ways is to bring in symbols of plants and animals. The goldfish or carp is a meaningful symbol that you can bring into your home to invite wealth, prosperity, and abundance.  

red and black goldfish in a tank with green plant

Luca Esposito / EyeEm / Getty Images

Goldfish or Carp Symbolism and Meaning in Feng Shui

Fish are a very important symbol in China. They were also a significant part of the Chinese economy at the time when feng shui was developed. It was a staple food, and fishing was a common occupation. In ancient China, fish were very plentiful and could reproduce easily, and they offered large quantities of food. Since they were such an abundant gift from nature, they came to represent wealth and abundance. 

Goldfish and carp in particular are symbols of abundance and wealth in feng shui and Chinese culture. These two fish are interchangeable in terms of feng shui symbolism because the goldfish is a type of small, domesticated carp. There is a story of the Chinese carp that swims upstream against the current, signifying endurance, bravery, and the ability to overcome obstacles. Goldfish have a special connection to prosperity because of their gold color, which is related to gold. Yellow is also an imperial color in feng shui, giving goldfish another layer of wealth symbolism.  

Another meaningful aspect of fish is that they are always moving. This means there is always a flow of qi, or life force energy. In feng shui, we look at how we can keep the qi moving and avoid stagnation, and fish really represent this. They can also maneuver in all directions, including backwards, up, down, and sideways, more easily and swiftly than humans. 

In Asian countries, you’ll often find goldfish or carp near temples. The carp and goldfish are also connected to the auspicious symbol of the dragon, one of the four celestial animals in feng shui. In the story of the carp that swims upstream, it is able to leap over the dragon’s gate and transform into a dragon.

Fish are also related to the water element because they reside in water. Flowing water is related to wealth, so aquariums and fountains can be used strategically in feng shui to invite more wealth to flow into your home. These fish also represent yang energy and are able to activate the qi of a space. Their constant movement and activity also represents growth, luck, and success. 

The double fish symbol is one of the eight treasures in Buddhism, and it is a symbol of good luck and protection. It can be placed in your home, or worn as jewelry. It’s depicted in Buddhist iconography, and it can represent yin and yang. A pair of carp can also symbolize a successful, joyful, long-lasting partnership, as well as success in what you and your partner create, whether that is children or any kind of creative project. 

Chinese traditional goldfish painting

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How to Use the Goldfish or Carp Symbol in Your Home

If you’re putting goldfish or carp imagery in your home, it’s ideal to stick to the public areas, like the entry or the living room. These symbols could add too much yang energy for the bedroom. It’s also best to avoid too much water energy in the bedroom, especially if you have a tendency towards depression. 

If you would like to have live goldfish, it’s ideal to have nine in total, or a multiple of nine, because nine is the most auspicious number in feng shui. Make sure to do an appropriate amount of research so that you can learn to care for these living beings. If one of the fish dies, figure out if something needs to be adjusted in their environment, and honor the life of that fish with some kind of ceremony. Offer gratitude for the support that this fish gave you energetically. It’s also important to make sure you are getting your fish from an ethical source—anything that you are using for an energetic benefit in your life also brings the energy of its surroundings before it comes to you.  

If the symbolism of goldfish or carp resonates with you, but you don’t have the space, time, or ability to take care of live fish, you can also find artwork with images of these fish to hang in your home. 

Outdoor Fish Pond

If you have space for an outdoor fish pond and are able to maintain it over time, this can bring success and abundance from nature and the outside world into your life. Make sure your fish pond is protected from predators—if you’re not keeping your fish safe, your pond will not be good feng shui. 

Energize Your Wealth Corner

An aquarium, images of fish, or the double carp symbol could be very helpful to energize the feng shui of your Wealth corner. To find the Wealth corner of your home, stand in your front entrance looking in and imagine a three-by-three grid stretched across your entire home. In general, your Wealth corner is in the far left corner of your home. If you have trouble finding it, you can always call on a trained feng shui practitioner to help you.  

Front Door for Opportunities

Your front door represents your connection to the outside world. It’s also called the “mouth of qi” in feng shui because this is the main way that qi, or energy, enters your home. Including symbols of wealth and abundance like goldfish or carp in this part of your home can help welcome more opportunities and prosperity to you. 

Living Room for Family Abundance

Your living room is where you connect with family as well as the outside world. Bringing the image of goldfish or carp into your living room can help enhance your feelings of abundance as it relates to your family and community. 

Expand Your Career

The connection between these fish and the energy of growth and success makes them a powerful symbol to invite expansion in your career. Your office represents your career in feng shui, so you may want to put an aquarium or an image of goldfish or carp in your office or on your desk to invite this energy into your work life.