Dead fish smell from the water

Macca_75

Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2016
626
529
93
45
SE Suburbs, Vic.
Hey Brains trust,

We picked the van up after it was in storage since March. It felt great to get away - that was until we ran the water.

We were connected to the mains of the park so we weren't using our tanks.

I checked the mains coming out the end of our hose and it smelt and tasted fine.

There was a definite smell of "Dead fish" coming from our taps.

I ran the taps for 10+ minutes tying to flush the lines but the smell persisted.

We later *think* we have narrowed it down to the hot water tank - which I flushed several times and it seems to be better.

Has any ever experienced this or something similar? Could it be the anode has caused this? I did swap it about 19 months ago but I can't recall the brand I put it - I think I just bought it from a Jayco dealer.

Over the next few days I'll pull the anode and give the hot water tank a good flush from the inside and replace the anode. I'm really hoping to see chunks of anode and a smell come out (so I know I am on the right track)

Any other thoughts as to what else I can do to fix this? We are using the van again in a few weeks so I need to get this sorted.
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
1,387
1,227
113
Ferny Grove, Queensland
Hey Brains trust,

We picked the van up after it was in storage since March. It felt great to get away - that was until we ran the water.

We were connected to the mains of the park so we weren't using our tanks.

I checked the mains coming out the end of our hose and it smelt and tasted fine.

There was a definite smell of "Dead fish" coming from our taps.

I ran the taps for 10+ minutes tying to flush the lines but the smell persisted.

We later *think* we have narrowed it down to the hot water tank - which I flushed several times and it seems to be better.

Has any ever experienced this or something similar? Could it be the anode has caused this? I did swap it about 19 months ago but I can't recall the brand I put it - I think I just bought it from a Jayco dealer.

Over the next few days I'll pull the anode and give the hot water tank a good flush from the inside and replace the anode. I'm really hoping to see chunks of anode and a smell come out (so I know I am on the right track)

Any other thoughts as to what else I can do to fix this? We are using the van again in a few weeks so I need to get this sorted.

Hey @Macca_75 , I remember reading somewhere about (not) turning off your domestic hot water system (storage) at home when you go away for some time. There was something about the build up of hydrogen being displaced out of the previously heated water caused by the anode. And when you turned on the power again and turned on the tap, there was the possibility of ignition with the water/hydrogen coming out the tap. Something like that anyway!! Now mix that with a little sulphur caused by organisms in the water and tank/pipe linings, you get Hydrogen sulphide , which smells like rotten eggs. Although normally insoluble in water, perhaps a prolonged immersion and contact with water enabled some of this to be absorbed into the water giving it that smell????? That is what I remember from my chemistry at High School. There will probably be some up to date chemistry expert to explain this better, but the business of not turning off hot water systems is fresh in my mind. Will see if I can find the reference. For the record, I DO turn off my electric hot water system whenever I go away for more than 3 or so days - cannot see the purpose of heating water up for storage and not using it.
 

Macca_75

Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2016
626
529
93
45
SE Suburbs, Vic.
We store the van outdoors in a storage place so there is 0 chance I will keep it turned on.

I ran out and got a new anode today - I'll pull the old one give the tank a good flush and see how that goes I suppose. Fingers crossed thats all it is.
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
10,391
16,622
113
QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
It sounds like bad water, while many argue about how to store, I find when I get back, I drain tanks and HWS then refill everything with fresh, run HWS to get air bubbles out, then when I set out again I dump, and run through fresh water, my thoughts is with the system full of water there's no air for things to grow and so far it seems to work.....

When I change or check the anode I remove it completely and stick hose in hole to flush the goobers out before replacing.......

I would hazard a guess that air in system has allowed some organism to cultivate a crop, hence the pong....a bit like bubble, bubble, toil and trouble old witches brew.............. a good flush should clear things up..... if you look inside the pipes that bring water to your house you would never, ever drink town water which is the same as if you look in the bottom of your rain water tank so going thru the sterilize and napalm your system isn't needed................ rotten egg gas just like Winton I suppose.
 
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Crusty181

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2010
6,382
13,122
113
Mentone, VIC
You're doing alright if you can get 18mths out of an anode. I've destroyed enough anodes to suggest the smells unlikely to be that.

We're stored inside the factory, I leave the tanks, hws etc full, never flush anything and crack a tap when I get home just to depressurize the system (which I do repeatedly because I forget if ive already done it.) So much'ly same same as you and not grown any fishy tank friends. The caravan hose (even food grade) can get a little urky if left to fester curled up in the warm storage box so I use my caravan hose as my goto factory hose, and car wash hose just to keep that from happening. May end having to flush the lot out with some Milton
 
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poor but proud

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2018
229
278
63
redlands
Hey Brains trust,

We picked the van up after it was in storage since March. It felt great to get away - that was until we ran the water.

We were connected to the mains of the park so we weren't using our tanks.

I checked the mains coming out the end of our hose and it smelt and tasted fine.

There was a definite smell of "Dead fish" coming from our taps.

I ran the taps for 10+ minutes tying to flush the lines but the smell persisted.

We later *think* we have narrowed it down to the hot water tank - which I flushed several times and it seems to be better.

Has any ever experienced this or something similar? Could it be the anode has caused this? I did swap it about 19 months ago but I can't recall the brand I put it - I think I just bought it from a Jayco dealer.

Over the next few days I'll pull the anode and give the hot water tank a good flush from the inside and replace the anode. I'm really hoping to see chunks of anode and a smell come out (so I know I am on the right track)

Any other thoughts as to what else I can do to fix this? We are using the van again in a few weeks so I need to get this sorted.
 

poor but proud

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2018
229
278
63
redlands
It could be worth checking the in line water filter under van any stray gunk or even a gecko can end up caught there, easy job ,you just have to find the filter
 
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Macca_75

Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2016
626
529
93
45
SE Suburbs, Vic.
All fixed (fingers crossed).

I pulled the anode (and replaced it while it was out).

Cleaned it out with a good flush using one of these (picked it up from Aldi ages ago)

1606183177332.png


Then turned the heat on (gas), let it heat and dumped the tank - I repeated this a few times and now everything appears to be OK. We'll have the van out again in a few weeks so we'll know then if the problem is fixed.

While we were out last time I noticed my mates new Jayco Journey - much nicer plumbing underneath and now standard CAM lock options for grey water so I'll do that mod next time the van is home in the drive - should take more than an hour (famous last words).

Thanks in advance for the advice.
 

Macca_75

Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2016
626
529
93
45
SE Suburbs, Vic.
I once thought of cam locks, the price scared me, I just use my 10m for $10 Bunnings drain hose, 75c irrigation barb and insulating tape......
Not the most expensive upgrade on the van.....


Sure I need the female for the hose as well but still........
 

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Crusty181

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2010
6,382
13,122
113
Mentone, VIC
I replumbed the vans entire waste system. Like Gastro everything just comes out at once, but unlike Gastro (and Jayco) it all comes out the one hole. We can simultaneously run the shower, basin, sink and washing machine and the standard 1 inch ribbed sullage pipe handles it all without any backup. I'm a wood artist, and I can manage to get the plumbing right ... not sure why Jayco seem to struggle with it so much

I have a sullage sump (which we very rarely use), for those uphill sullage runs. The waste drops out of the single water outlet into the 5 litre sump which has an auto start bilge pump that automatically blasts it up the sullage hose to the uphill c/park trap.
 

BJM

Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2018
328
324
63
Yamba
Many germs can survive and multiply in hot water systems.That is why you should never drink hot water from home system.Getting off the subject ,do not swim in the sea thinking it will kill germs or help heal wounds etc.Those days have gone.!,
 
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Macca_75

Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2016
626
529
93
45
SE Suburbs, Vic.
I replumbed the vans entire waste system. Like Gastro everything just comes out at once, but unlike Gastro (and Jayco) it all comes out the one hole. We can simultaneously run the shower, basin, sink and washing machine and the standard 1 inch ribbed sullage pipe handles it all without any backup. I'm a wood artist, and I can manage to get the plumbing right ... not sure why Jayco seem to struggle with it so much

I have a sullage sump (which we very rarely use), for those uphill sullage runs. The waste drops out of the single water outlet into the 5 litre sump which has an auto start bilge pump that automatically blasts it up the sullage hose to the uphill c/park trap.
I'm just replumbing the last bit to remove the "F connector" and replacing it with a cam lock to make it easier /quicker.

Currently everything drains fine and there are no kinks or twists in any of the lines.

I'm also thinking of putting a "t" pointing upwards in the line so it doesn't get the dreaded "airlock" if the sullage has a slight hump in it. If this fails and water ends up coming out I'll just glue a cap on - no big deal. Shouldn't be more than $20 in parts and an hour I hope. Watching my mate on this new Journey it was so much easier. I'll also add camlocks to all the bits of sullage hose so I can easily connect them together when/if needed.
 
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Macca_75

Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2016
626
529
93
45
SE Suburbs, Vic.
Just to finish this thread - we found the issue (with a little trail and error we thought it was the new water filter)

We have a 3 stage water filter (bought it around Dec last year) - the last stage has resin as a softener for harder water - https://www.psifilters.com.au/caravan-water-filters/10360-triple-caravan-with-water-softener.html

Anyway - I rang Peter (from PSI Filters - I have been dealing with them for over 20yrs for fish tank water filters). As soon as I mentioned the issue he knew the problem and confirmed it was the water filter unit.

While the resin lasts around 20 years (you can regenerate it with table salt) you can't let it dry out - if it does it will make water smell like dead fish (unpleasant, but not harmful).

The resin is stored/sold in a sealed bag - when I bought the unit the bag is opened and put into the unit for me.

Due to bush fires at the start of 2020 we didn't get to do any of the camping planned - then COVID hit and the van sat in storage even longer. Basically the filter has sat in my shed for 12 months (and the resin dried out).

Lesson learnt and a cheap ($15 + postage) fix.

+ side - I know my plumbing on the van a hell of a lot better and the anode has been changed again 8-)