See also: • Fish Page • Computer Stuff • Arbitrary Art • Toxic Drums Images • Serendipity

 About the Fish Page

All about the Fish page:

If you got here from the "FISH" page then you know what this is about but otherwise you can see the FISH page by clicking this link --> The FISH page!

(Also, I have recently discovered, you can buy chocolate sardines in a tin from the Chocolate Trading Company!)

The fish page is a bizarre example of what human beings can do when they put their mind to it. It is an HTML page constructed of text and CSS to form images of fish from thousands of fish names.

There are precisely 5,908 different fish names (no two are the same) all arranged in a block of text which is 134 characters across and 810 lines down. All fish names are separated by a space, a bullet point and another space. No extra space or punctuation has been added to make them fit. A remarkable engineering achievement! (oops! I found a mistake.  See ERRATUM at bottom of page)

Here is something about the images used followed by a brief description of how the task was achieved.

Yes, this is a picture of Nemo.  It is neither Coral nor Marlin.  Marlin (the father of Nemo) is the protagonist in the world shattering Pixar animation called "Finding Nemo"finding nemo and the two (Nemo and Marlin) are often mixed up.  Coral (Nemo's mother), unfortunately dies at the beginning of the film.  The difference between Nemo and Marlin is that Nemo has a deformed right fin.  Marlin refers to this as his "lucky fin".  Oh, and Nemo is a little cuter than Marlin.  If you haven't seen this beautiful, entertaining and insightful film you should, and you can get it from Amazonfinding nemo on DVD.
andrzej kuhn fish KUHN FISH
This little fellow is featured in a painting by Andrzej Kuhn called "Where the cockles grow old".  Andrzej is an artist living in Lincolnshire who was a polish refugee from the second world war at the age of 10.  He has been prolific in his artistic creations and his work has a character and style so strong that you cannot forget it once seen.  Take a look at his web site and ponder for a moment that other world of imagination and emotion which he portrays so well.  No home is complete without an Andrzej Kuhn painting.  You can visit his web site at
Buy at
Striped Fish
Buy From
This is an image created by Romero Britto.  Romero Britto is a famous Brazillian Artist who lives in Florida.  His work is perhaps best described as a hybrid of Pop Art and Cubism.  It appears whimsical and yet contains real social and political observations.  Romero is energetic and imaginative and does a lot of charitable work and is well patronised by the rich and famous.  Some of his work (not originals) are available from  They sell visual art for home and business in all sorts of different media and mountings.  Buy artwork by Romero Britto at
shrimps SHRIMPS
These are actually soft pink candy sweets in the shape of shrimps. Many people will already be familiar with these delights but did you know you can buy them in the UK over the internet from Handy Candy.  And you can buy chocolate fish and chocolate sardines in a tin from the Chocolate Trading Company!
allposters blue fish SERENELY, BEAUTIFULLY
Serenely, Beautifully is an art print by Keith Siddle available at AllPosters specifically at this link --> Serenely, Beautifully.
bloat BLOAT
Bloat is the loveable porcupinefish (sometimes mistaken for a pufferfish) in the Pixar film "Finding Nemo"finding nemo which you can buy at nemo.
ponds magazine PONDS MAGAZINE (.com)
This image of lots of orange fish was gleaned from Ponds Magazine.  I hope they don't mind me using it as it provides an advert and link to their site.  If you are reading this and you are from Ponds Magazine and you have any objection please let me know and I will do something about it straight away :o)  Specifically it came from
woodcraft angel fish ANGELFISH
This is a picture from Woodcraft Model Kits of their Woodcraft Angelfish.  They do a really nice range of woodcraft items ranging from modern vehicles to prehistoric animals including a good range of fish.  This fish can be found in their Sea Life category.  These models make ideal presents for slightly older than young children (unless of course you want to make them yourself :o)
seuss one fish two fish TWO FISH
These little fellows are the two fish from Dr Seuss' "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" book.  You can buy it from Amazon (in the UK) and it really is a very entertaining and enjoyable book from a master of children's books.  If you can't get yourself to read Dr Seuss because you feel you are too old then for goodness sake get yourself some children.  Well one will do and then you have the perfect excuse.
Plenty more fish in the sea? is an article by Danielle Venton discussing how over-fishing around the globe has caused world fish stocks to plummet, with some of our favourite species hovering near collapse.  This image is horror movie stuff but then some fish are!
haribo freaky fish FREAKY FISH
This is a picture of Haribo Freaky Fish.  They are fruity flavoured fish sweets available from Handy Candy.  You SHALL have a little fishy on your little dishy!
keith siddle gently quietly YELLOW FISH
Another picture from Keith Siddle called Gently, Quietly which you can get from AllPosters.
funky fish FUNKY FISH
A funky fish from Funky Window Art.  There is lots of really good window art products here and it appears that the person behind the web site is an artist and hand paints all these beautiful objects.  Take a look around Funky Window Art to get your imagination revelling.
angry fangtooth fish FANGTOOTH FISH
This ugly monster is only one of many on Environmental Grafitti.  This is another of those images which is "found" but like Mr Mutt's urinal the argument is that it is environmentally available material for cultural art.  What?
usb fishUSB FISH
Although the above fish is weird this one is weird in a different way.  It is actually a USB hub in the shape of a fish.  If you like geeky electronic devices you can get this item from here --> USB hub fish and they have many other weird and wonderful USB things too.
some sums fish SOME SUMS
This image is perhaps called "The Sum of Some of It's Parts" and is a product of Tony Karp, a Techno Artist!  It was not a brilliant image for this project but I so liked it that I wanted to include it to give you the opportunity to visit his site and see it in it's full splendour.  You can visit his web site here --> Tony Karp's web site.
bruce BRUCE
Fish are friends, not food! I like the way Bruce appears to rise from the bottom of the page as you scroll down. He is reminiscent of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Bruce is, of course, the Great White Shark in "Finding Nemo"finding nemo who is trying to break the habit of a life time.

This is how it all began:

I had collected a number of lists of items that I wanted to put in, for example, the keywords of a web page.  But keywords are "out" nowadays.  Too many people stuffed irrelevant keywords into the meta tag on their pages such that search engines using keywords were simply becoming useless to the web surfer.  But the list of words were not really useable in the text of the web page.  An example of stuffing words on a page to get traffic can be seen at Sente's Terms Page and at this site on the HTML Stop Line Breaks page.  But obviously there is a limit to the scope and use of this method.  I was playing around with ideas of changing the color of the text to form a pattern when I decided to automate it for an advert page on Toxic Drums for B&B Electronics.  I wrote some software to take an image and to produce the right CSS in a text file to make the text form the image on a web page.  From there it escalated into an idea about how to produce more sophisticated stuff.

Well the whole thing got out of hand when I was browsing the internet and for some serendipitous reason I became fascinated by the number of different fish names that exist.  I started collecting them with the idea of creating a piece of web art.  Before I knew it I had 5,912 different fish names in a list.  Armed with this list I set about trying to construct a square (or rather rectangular) arrangement of the names.  This in itself became a bit of a mathematical problem.  I can't resist problems like this.

The final approach was to separate the names into size groups and to stick them together a bit like you would find the right amount of money for a purchase by collecting the highest value coins first and then making up the rest with the next highest value coins.  It turned out this was the best approach I found.  I had reduced the words to numbers by now because I was only interested in the size of the words at this stage.  So, for example, I had one fish name of 34 characters (the Triplespine Deepwater Cardinalfish in case you are interested), one of 33 characters, 2 of 32 chars, 3x31, 0x30, 11x29, 17x28 all the way down to 10 three letter fish like Cod and Ray.

By automating the finding and rearranging of these numbers into a line length of 134 I had 810 lines with four fish left out.  The four fish I had in my list that do not appear on the fish page are Scad, Danio, Saury and Betta.  The reason I chose to exclude these was because they appear in other names like the "Slender Scad" and the "Leopard Danio".

Armed with the arrangement of 134 across and 810 down I set about finding suitable fish images.  I did consider creating some art work but it was all taking too long anyway so I went looking for "found images", you know, a bit R Mutt like except it was fish not urinals I was looking for.  Having procured the selection of images I cut them up, reduced their size (to 67 across and whatever down), reduced the number of colors in them and stuck them together in a column until they were 810 pixels tall.  Armed with that and the text file and my superior programming skills I proceeded to generate the CSS and the HTML to construct the image for the web page.

It's a funny thing that for all the super accurate measurements of fonts and all the issues concerning fixed width fonts that there is no standard fixed proportion for each character.  This results in the image being slightly elongated or squashed depending upon the rendering of the font.  But generally it works well with any point size of Courier font with no spacing between letters and normal line height.  To get the squarest rendition two characters actually make up each pixel.  That explains the image width being 67 pixels and the line length being 134 characters.

Following on from this I might do more with this idea and if you have got this far reading this exceedingly boring description it might be that you are interested in this kind of thing too.  Perhaps you want a page with your company logo made with lots of relevant keywords.  By all means email me (from the contact page) and I am happy to entertain the idea of sharing thoughts or even producing pages for you.  I might one day produce a generic piece of software to do the job.  Who knows!  (Let me know if you are interested!)

I was browsing the fish page with my browsotron when I spotted a short line.  Obviously the algorithm I used made the best fit it could, but there was one line which was one letter short of the 134 characters across.  So I decided I would correct it with a fudge and thought I would just check to see if there were any more short lines.  Well I found three others.  But one of the fish names at the end of one short line was a classic so I decided to leave them just because I liked it.  The fish name that amused me was the Bastard Red Cod!  The other three were the Mountain Minnow, the Hairy Pipefish and the Laticeps Stingray.  But with a name like Bastard Red Cod I simply couldn't correct the mistake.

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