What Does It Mean to Dream About a Fish Tank?

Fish Tank Dream Meaning

It can be calming to watch fish swim in a fish tank. However, your dream of a fish tank could have a much deeper meaning.

Fish Tank Dream Summary

Fish Tank Dream Symbolism

Dreaming of fish in a tank may have a different meaning from dreaming of fish swimming freely in a river or lake. A fish tank provides containment, which can be either confining or comforting.

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Your fish tank dream meaning could also refer to a situation where you feel like you are dependent on others, or to a situation where you feel like others are watching you.

Common Fish Tank Dreams

  1. Dream of a broken fish tank
  2. Dream of a dirty fish tank
  3. Dream of a fish jumping out of a fish tank

Fish Tank Dream Symbolism

Fish Tank Dream Symbolism

Containment

Dreaming of a fish tank could symbolize that you are in a contained, limited environment. This might make you feel trapped. Like other dreams of being trapped, this type of fish tank dream might symbolize that you feel oppressed by your circumstances and seem to lack the power to do anything about it.

Alternately, the containment of a fish tank could make you feel secure. Water in dreams often symbolizes emotions, which can sometimes be overwhelming.

However, water takes the shape of its container, so to see water contained in a manageable fish tank in your dream could symbolize that you acknowledge emotions in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you.

Dependence

A fish in a tank is dependent on someone outside to bring them food and clean their water. Your dream of a fish tank could symbolize a situation where you are dependent on others to take care of you, or where others depend on you to take care of them.

Surveillance

Fish tanks are usually clear so that people can see inside. A fish tank dream meaning could be about feeling like you lack privacy or are being watched.

The equivalent of a transparent fish tank for humans might be the panopticon, a type of circular prison design that allows a guard to easily see what the prisoners are doing. The Ethics Centre notes that this approach has found its way into other aspects of society, such as the way computer data is handled.

Dreaming of a fish tank could also symbolize that you feel guilty about something you have done and are afraid of getting caught.

A fish tank is often a kind of glass house, so the saying “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” may be relevant. This saying means that you should avoid criticizing others because they may be able to see your flaws too.

Common Fish Tank Dreams

Dream of a broken fish tank

Dream of a broken fish tank

Dreaming of a fish tank that breaks in a way such that the water spills out could symbolize that you or someone else in your life might release emotions that have been held back. The way this happens may be disruptive. See also flood dream symbolism and broken glass dream symbolism.

If the fish tank in your dream breaks in a way that has more to do with the filtration system rather than the glass, your broken fish tank dream meaning might be more similar to a dirty fish tank dream meaning.

Dream of a dirty fish tank

Dream of a dirty fish tank

Dreaming of a dirty fish tank could symbolize that you are in a toxic environment. If you relate more to the fish in your dream, you could feel like you are dependent on someone else to make your living conditions better, like if you are waiting for your landlord to fix something broken in your house or apartment.

If you see yourself more in the human responsible for maintaining the fish tank, your dirty fish tank dream meaning might be more about feeling like you are falling behind on taking care of your responsibilities.

Water often symbolizes emotions, so a dream of a dirty fish tank could alternately be about that. Perhaps an environment you are stuck in, like your home or office, tends to be polluted by the poisonous emotions of someone there.

It might seem like you are at the mercy of another person who always seems to be unhappy, and there is nothing you can do to make them feel better.

Alternately, you may be the one who is in a nasty mood all the time, and you might not be aware of the negative effect you have on other people.

Dream of a fish jumping out of a fish tank

Dream of a fish jumping out of a fish tank

The dream meaning of a fish jumping out of its tank is generally along the lines that something in your environment is toxic for you. As discussed in goldfish dream symbolism and turtle dream symbolism, sometimes fish or turtles escape if their water is dirty or the wrong temperature.

However, fish cannot live long out of water. In this way, dreaming of a fish jumping out of its tank could have a similar meaning to a dream of driving off a cliff. You may feel like you have no good options, but choosing to jump out of the tank or drive off the cliff at least puts you in control of your fate in a way.

If your dream has you more in the role of the concerned pet owner wondering why your pet fish are jumping out of the tank, this might symbolize that others experience you as overbearing and controlling.

You may be going to great effort to give someone everything you think they could possibly need except for their freedom.

Conclusion

A fish tank can be a surprisingly complex dream symbol. It might say a lot about your environment, especially if you feel like you don’t have much control over your environment.

While some things you need may be provided for you, your fish tank dream could show that you might also have to assert your needs for freedom and privacy.

Eva Sylwester

Eva Sylwester has been fascinated with the interpretation of dreams since middle school. She got a B.A. in psychology and religious studies from the University of Oregon in 2007. After that, she began exploring astrology and other new frontiers in spirituality. In her approach, the goal of dream interpretation is to help the dreamer articulate their own intuition. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, United States.