Why Does My Water Smell Like Fish?

Author: Ankit Kumar
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Suppose you are waking up in the morning and go to the kitchen to drink water. Suddenly, you notice that the water smells like fish. You will be like, whew! Yuck! What gross smell is it?

Believe me! It happens to most of us very often, but thankfully, it is not dangerous for humans. With the latest technology also, your water may have a funny smell and taste.

Out of all the other smells, the fishy smell is the strongest unless your love for fish is so much that you’re ready to drink it! But why does water have a fishy smell? Let’s find out.


Reasons For Water Smells Like Fish

If the water smells like fish, it doesn’t mean that your water contains fish. Also, the Fishy smell from water does not indicate any presence of harmful containments.

So, when your tap water smells like fish, you must find out the source of the smell.

Here are the reasons for the fishy smell in the water.

Barium and Cadmium

Barium and Cadmium

If the source of the smell is water only, then it is due to organic compounds in water. Barium and Cadmium are the two most common compounds naturally present in water known for causing a fishy smell.

Barium is a metal in the mineral ore that seeps into the underground water and then the water supply system.

On the other hand, Cadmium is a metal added to the water through the run-off of chemical fertilizers, industrial wastes, and deteriorating galvanizing plumbing systems.

EPA recommends the water treatment plants monitor the level of both metals. But you should install RO in your homes to remove the fishy smell causing by Barium and Cadmium. RO helps in removing other harmful metals and compounds as well.



Chloramine is a chemical compound made up of Chlorine and Ammonia. Water treatment plants add chloramine to the water to kill the tiny bacteria and pathogens.

A high level of chloramine can cause a fishy smell in the water. To eliminate the chloramine from your water, you can install Catalytic Carbon Chloramine Reduction System.


Organic Material in the Drain

Sometimes the culprit behind the fishy smell is not your water but the drain. You should check whether a fishy smell is coming from all tap water or not.

If it is coming from only one tap, then organic material in the drain or faucet can cause a fishy smell in the water.

You should leave the water running for 5-10 minutes and make sure to clean your drain and taps. Also, if they are too old, call a plumber and change the fixtures for odorless water.


Algae Blooms

Algae Blooms

If your water source is well, lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, then the reason for the fishy smell in water could be algae. Especially during the summer season, when the temperature gets too high, algae blooming happens.

Although water treatment removes the algae, some of them seep into the water supply and travels to your homes.

To remove the fishy smell caused by algae, you should contact your water supplier. Otherwise, RO is there!


Is water smelling Fishy Safe to Drink?

The first question that comes to your mind when you drink smelly water is whether it is safe or not.

Most of the time, water that has a funny smell is safe to drink. The same is the case for fishy smells in the water.

The fishy smell occurs due to harmless containments; however, a high level of chemical compounds, minerals, or organic substances has some side effects.

You should be careful and test the water to know what chemical is causing a fishy smell in your water.



Although you know the reasons behind the fishy smell in water, finding out the exact reason is difficult for you. Either you should test the water to see the cause or leave the job to RO.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) will eliminate all the harmful chemicals, minerals, and substances from the water and make it odorless and tasteless. Also, always clean your drains and taps to remove the organic materials from them.

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