Importance to humans
In the Book of Jonah a "great fish" swallowed Jonah the Prophet. Legends of half-human, half-fish mermaids have featured in stories like those of Hans Christian Andersen and movies like Splash (See Merman, Mermaid). Among the deities said to take the form of a fish are Ika-Roa of the Polynesians, Dagon of various ancient Semitic peoples, the shark-gods of Hawai?i and Matsya of the Hindus. The astrological symbol Pisces is based on a constellation of the same name, but there is also a second fish constellation in the night sky, Piscis Austrinus. Fish have been used figuratively in many different ways, for example the ichthys used by early Christians to identify themselves, through to the fish as a symbol of fertility among Bengalis. Fish feature prominently in art and literature, in movies such as Finding Nemo and books such as The Old Man and the Sea. Large fish, particularly sharks, have frequently been the subject of horror movies and thrillers, most notably the novel Jaws, which spawned a series of films of the same name that in turn inspired similar films or parodies such as Shark Tale, Snakehead Terror, and Piranha. Fish riders in a 1920s poster of the Republic of China. In the semiotic of Ashtamangala (buddhist symbolism) the golden fish (Sanskrit: Matsya), represents the state of fearless suspension in samsara, perceived as the harmless ocean, referred to as 'buddha-eyes' or 'rigpa-sight'. The fish symbolizes the auspiciousness of all living beings in a state of fearlessness without danger of drowning in the Samsaric Ocean of Suffering, and migrating from teaching to teaching freely and spontaneously just as fish swim. They have religious significance in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist traditions but also in Christianity who is first signified by the sign of the fish, and especially referring to feeding the multitude in the desert. In the dhamma of Buddha the fish symbolize happiness as they have complete freedom of movement in the water. They represent fertility and abundance. Often drawn in the form of carp which are regarded in the Orient as sacred on account of their elegant beauty, size and life-span. The name of the Canadian city of Coquitlam, British Columbia
s derived from Kwikwetlem, which is said to be derived from a Coast Salish term meaning "little red fish". Freshwater Freshwater fishkeeping is by far the most popular branch of the hobby, with even small pet stores often selling a variety of freshwater fish, such as goldfish, guppies, and angelfish. While most freshwater aquaria are community tanks containing a variety of compatible species, single-species breeding aquaria are also popular. Livebearing fish such as mollies and guppies are among those most easily raised in captivity, but aquarists also regularly breed many types of cichlid, catfish, characin, and killifish. Many fishkeepers create freshwater aquascapes where the focus is on aquatic plants as well as fish. These aquaria include "Dutch Aquaria", named for European aquarists who designed them. In recent years, one of the most active advocates of the heavily planted aquarium is the Japanese aquarist Takashi Amano. Garden ponds are in some ways similar to freshwater aquaria, but are usually much larger and exposed to ambient weather. In the tropics, tropical fish can be kept in garden ponds, but in the temperate zone species such as goldfish, koi, and orfe work better. Saltwater Marine aquaria are generally more difficult to maintain and the livestock is significantly more expensive. As a result this branch tends to attract more experienced fishkeepers. Marine aquaria can be exceedingly beautiful, due to the attractive colors and shapes of the corals and the coral reef fish they host. Temperate zone marine fish are not as commonly kept in home aquaria, primarily because they do not thrive at room temperature. Coldwater aquaria must provide cooler temperature via a cool room (such as an unheated basement) or a refrigeration device known as a 'chiller'. Marine aquarists often attempt to recreate a coral reef in their aquaria using large quantities of living rock, porous calcareous rocks encrusted with coralline algae, sponges, worms, and other small marine organisms. Larger corals as well as shrimps, crabs, echinoderms, and mollusks are added later on, once the aquarium has matured, as well as a variety of small fish. Such aquaria are sometimes called reef tanks.