Stinky pool water problem!


New member
Jun 20, 2010
I hope someone can help me with this. Our pool has this awful barn-like/fish smell coming from it. I am a complete novice when it comes to pools but I'm willing to learn. Here is some background info: Our pool is an 18x48 above ground Intex pool. I used it last year and cleaned it out for this current summer. We brought it out about a month ago, cleaned it and filled it. We decided we were going to get the salt water system to go with it so we bought it about a week later. No chemicals were added to the pool prior so the water turned green. We installed the salt water system, and added salt. The manual states the salt water filter should run 4 hours a day and to use the boost option if there is heavy rain. Well since the pool was so green I ran it at the max 12 hours and constantly ran the boost option. Now the green has turned blue...although still a little cloudy but along with the cleaner looking water came that smell! It is so gross it smells like rotting something and anyone who goes in it smells from the water ( I know because I got in to vacuum it out) I don't know if its the salt water filter or the massive amount of rain we have been having? I don't know if maybe the boost affected it? Please tell me you have heard of this before and know a solution? I hate the smell and my family would love to actually use the pool! Please help. Thank you!


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Feb 23, 2008
Denton, TX
Welcome to TFP!

You probably need to shock your pool. Although your SWCG can produce chlorine, it cannot produce it fast enough for the chlorine demand that shocking involves. This is where bleach or liquid chlorine comes in handy.

We need some test results from you. Please provide us with your FC, CC, CYA, pH, and TA. If you don't have a test kit that can provide all of these levels, you are going to have to get one, but in the meantime, if you have a pool store close by, they can usually run these tests for you. Buy no chemicals from them. Just report back here with the numbers and we will get you going.

Back to the test kit thing, I would highly recommend a TF-100 kit. It is an excellent value and will give you super accurate results for all the different tests. See the link in my sig line to order.

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