Feng Shui and Tropical Fish Tanks

Dear Lynn,
I just got a new fish tank for tropical fish! I want to place it in my living room right near the front door. I have always loved fish tanks with their lighted water and would like to know if water and fish have special meanings in feng shui. I am hoping you can tell me all about that and where would be the best place for them in my home. Thanks Lynn! — Swimmin’ in CT.

Hi There,

The very upbeat tone of your question conveys how good this tropical fish tank is for you. In addition to delighting you, the water and fish are supportive and emblematic of your flow in life’s journey. You’ve already decided that it will be in the living room right next to the front door. This area corresponds to the career sector as shown in the bagua. It is appropriate to place the fish tank in that front public sector of your home. The fish enliven it and by their very happy existence they set a sweet, moving, possibly vigorous flow. Water is the conduit for our careers, our flow through life. It vitalizes what is immediately present inside, as well as outside.

When placing the tank be sure that it does not present even a slight hazard for passersby. Position it in a way that creates a surrounding “home” of sorts that makes it the chief focal point for an area and keeps it from being bumped into.

Fish are written about quite frequently in feng shui literature. Most typically they are talked about in color ratios that optimize their auspiciousness. The color gold is considered very auspicious, as are certain fish — the carp for example — swimming in ponds both indoors and outside in public establishments. The number 9 is considered the most yang number, the strongest in that it’s the highest number with which to express yourself numerically before having to use additional digits. So lucky number 9 is a component in fish selection. Choose eight fish of one color and one fish of a different color. The differing one is the agent of change. However fish selection does not affect placement of the tank at the design/decision level, so select fish in colors and numbers that seem most uplifting or intriguing to you. Beneficial chi flow is assured and active in your home.

Dear Lynn,
I have a small blank 1’x2′ concrete slab next to my front porch. I would like to place something there to enhance my front entrance. It’s not a good place for a potted plant or tree because it receives very little sun due to the roof overhang. And the porch is a small square with no awning. I would like to bring more fun and prosperity into my life. — Sandy

Dear Sandy,
Tile it. De-industrialize that unattractive but useful slab. An area with that small square footage will be very inexpensive to make over with design. If you’re going to buy tiles, specify that they will be placed outside. If you are handy you could make and design them yourself. Is there a country or place you especially love? Try to get tiles that evoke it — or some other type of its earthen work.

If tiling seems out of reach for you, a wonderful effect can be achieved with brick. Create a pattern with an alternating design. You could have them cut in half, maybe implement stones and pebbles and weave a labyrinth. It could be quite a squirrel stopper. They’ll be bringing you nuts from the entire neighborhood!

These suggestions are meant to transform the offending object/area. Another approach would be to lessen its influence by distracting the eye. Make the porch area interesting and compelling in some way.

What suggests lightness of being to you? What holds the energy of your gratitude? Does the porch have a railing? If it does — and it should — black iron would be best for a space this size. You want fun? So does the porch. Decorate it with splashes of color. You could strand the doorframe or iron rails with lights.

Although you seem sure that no plant will survive in that general area I think evergreens are still an option. They don’t have to be large mature ones. Considering the scale of this smallish area you could grace part of it with two or three dwarf evergreens. No straight rows, gentle curves. They could be moved around to different areas or from time to time or as the seasons change.


Hi Lynn,
I work from home and I’ve moved my desk many different places in my home office. What is the ideal way for my desk to face for productivity and financial success? I prefer my desk to face out into the room, but then my back is to the window. Any help? — LL

Dear Double L,
It doesn’t feel right to turn your back to the light, does it? Let’s try to figure out how you can both enjoy the view the window provides and face back into the room as you work. The cardinal directions won’t govern this decision. Practicality will.

For prosperity, success and health you must be maximally supported in your environment. A good arrangement helps deepen your ability to focus, create and grow. Ideally you are supported by a wall behind you, facing into the room with a clear view of the entrances but not directly lined up with one. Your chair should be comfortable and if you are not able to completely face into the room as well as view the door, have a swivel chair with a high back. The chair itself will provide backing creating a mini-environment within the room and allow you to easily swivel to optimum positions. Many times in small rooms at home or in rooms with multiple uses this ideal (a wall of support behind you and desk facing into the space) will seem impossible. It is not. In almost all situations it can be created.

If the room is really small and you’ve achieved this arrangement, you might be faced with the challenge that you are in a tight spot when seated. This may mean that you have to adjust your posture (your physical self), at least somewhat, to get behind the desk. Over time, this speaks to your governing subconscious mind with messages to lower your expectations, settle for less, compromise, don’t expect too much, which are very limiting messages indeed. Do your best to make this wall of support and inward facing desk position with enough chair space possible, even if it means eliminating some of the other furniture in the room. Or consider the possibility that by switching the function of another room that is more accommodating to this arrangement and moving your office there, you may boost other uses of your overall space for the better. This is a big change physically and can bring a newfound clarity to embedded thought forms.

If the space is used additionally for houseguests, make it comfortable for you and compromise the rest for the guests. Their stay is brief and pretty passive in terms of daily functioning and responsibility.

In dining rooms or family rooms, create an area within the larger area that provides the same principles. If you have to, use a movable screen to separate the energies; this will also concentrate your workspace more beneficially. Bookcases can be used to block the back of a desk if it’s visible and looks unattractive, but can also serve as room dividers/definers, much the same as screens do.

You didn’t ask, but if in your home office you ever interview people and you are seated with a window behind you, you will be in “relief.” Your actual presence is diminished as your countenance becomes silhouetted. It weakens your influence and makes you less heard. There is effort for the person opposite you to keep your presence visually. Maybe you don’t have meetings or interviews at home but this principle also applies to talking to your kids! If you want your voice to be taken seriously, step out of that spot and into one with a wall behind you, backing you up.

The late Lynn Taylor was a senior feng shui practitioner, teaching and consulting in the United States and Mexico for both business and home environments.