Home » Photography » The Best Fish Identifier Apps To Use While Snorkeling

The Best Fish Identifier Apps To Use While Snorkeling

Snorkeling opens up a mesmerizing world of marine life, and identifying the fish you see adds an extra layer of excitement to the experience. 

Thanks to modern technology, there are now apps that can identify fish with just a snapshot. In this article, we’ll explore the top fish identifier apps that are changing the way snorkelers interact with the underwater world. 

From the most comprehensive databases to user-friendly interfaces, we’ve got you covered.

Google Lens – The Top Choice for Fish Identification

Google Lens has become a go-to tool for instant fish identification. It’s not specifically designed for fish, but its vast database and powerful image recognition technology make it incredibly effective. Here’s why I find Google Lens indispensable on my snorkeling trips:

  • It’s versatile and can identify a wide variety of marine life.
  • Simple to use: just point, click, and get instant information.
  • The major con is the need for internet connectivity, which might be a challenge in remote snorkeling locations.

Smithsonian’s Fishes: East Pacific – A Solid Choice

For those snorkeling in the East Pacific, the Smithsonian’s app is a treasure trove. It provides detailed information specific to this region’s marine life. Here’s what makes it stand out:

  • The app covers an extensive range of species found in the East Pacific.
  • It offers detailed descriptions, making it educational for avid snorkelers.
  • However, its region-specific focus can be a limitation for those snorkeling in other areas.

Picture Fish – Easy and User-Friendly

Picture Fish is great for beginners and those who prefer a straightforward approach. It offers:

  • A user-friendly interface that’s perfect for quick identifications.
  • Decent accuracy with a growing database of fish species.
  • The downside is that it may not be as comprehensive as Google Lens or the Smithsonian app.

Fishscan – A Newcomer Worth Trying

Although relatively new, Fishscan is showing promise with features like:

  • A focused database that is continually expanding.
  • Good accuracy and a simple interface.
  • Being new, it might not have the depth of data that the other apps offer, but it’s rapidly improving.

Tips for Snorkelers Using Fish Identifier Apps

Using fish identifier apps can transform your snorkeling experience from just a swim to an educational adventure. Here are some in-depth tips to help you get the most out of these apps:

Mastering the Art of Underwater Photography

Camera Prep: Make sure your underwater camera or phone is secured in a reliable waterproof case. A foggy lens can ruin a perfect shot, so consider using anti-fog inserts.

Photo Techniques: When taking pictures, aim for well-lit, clear images. Avoid shadows and reflections. Sometimes, turning off the flash and using natural light brings out the best colors in fish.

Angles Matter: Try to capture multiple angles of the fish. Side profiles and top-down shots can provide different identification markers.

Enhancing Identification Accuracy

Be Patient: Good things take time. If your first attempt at identification doesn’t work, try with a different photo or angle.

Know the Limitations: Understand that these apps might not always be 100% accurate. They are tools to aid your exploration, not definitive guides.

Cross-Reference: If you’re unsure about an app’s identification, cross-reference it with another app or a marine life guidebook.

Balancing Technology with Nature

Stay Present: It’s easy to get caught up in trying to photograph every fish. Remember to also enjoy the experience of being in the water and observing marine life in its natural habitat.

Respect Marine Life: Always maintain a safe and respectful distance from marine life. Avoid chasing or touching fish, as this can stress them and disrupt their natural behavior.

Post-Snorkeling: Creating a Digital Logbook

Record Your Finds: Use the apps to create a digital logbook of the fish you’ve identified. It’s a great way to track the variety of species you encounter over time.

Share and Learn: Share your findings with the snorkeling community online. You can learn a lot from the experiences of others and contribute to collective knowledge.

Using Apps Responsibly

Battery Life: Remember that using apps can drain your phone or camera battery quickly. Always keep an eye on your battery level to ensure you have enough for emergency situations.

Water Safety: Don’t let your focus on your device distract you from water safety. Be aware of your surroundings and current water conditions.


With these tips, you’re all set to make the most of fish identifier apps on your next snorkeling adventure. They offer a unique opportunity to learn and interact with the underwater world in a whole new way. Happy snorkeling, and here’s to discovering the wonders of the ocean, one fish at a time!

Leave a Comment