This particular fish subject was a popular one with Ye Zhongsan and the Apricot Grove Studio. The design was used again and again but interestingly with no less success as time went by.
This example appears to be a mature work. Robert W. L. Kleiner, Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Mary and George Bloch, Catalogue, Hong Kong, 1987, p. 207, no. 275, notes that the subject was first recorded in 1903, some eight years before this example. The use of fluorite is highly successful, adding a flush of natural color to the underwater scene.
For another example in crystal dated 1904, see Hugh Moss, Victor Graham and Ka Bo Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, The J & J Collection, Hong Kong, 1993, vol. II, p. 74, no. 436.
That example similarly painted with a large twisting carp to one side (identical to ours) bears the inscription longmen deyi (fulfil your wish at the Dragon Gate). The subject was a popular one because of the symbolism of the carp. As the authors note:
"The 'Dragon Gate' (Longmen) is located to the northwest of Hejin district in Shanxi province, where the Yellow River flows through a narrow gorge. According to legend, only the strongest carp swimming upstream could overcome this stretch of turbulent water. It was such a challenge that the successful fish were mythically metamorphosed into dragons - hence the popular design of a combination of dragon and carp, or sometimes of a combined creature with the head of a dragon and the tail of a fish. The carp leaping the 'Dragon Gate' falls came to be seen as a metaphor for success in the Imperial examinations in particular and for advancement in general"