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Build Your Own Stock Tank Pool: A Step-by-Step Guide

Stock tank pools are surging in popularity right now, and it’s easy to see why! They’re an affordable, attractive, and low maintenance way to stay cool on those sweltering summer days.

Living in Phoenix, the summers can be brutally hot. In fact, as I write this, it’s 110 degrees Fahrenheit/43 degrees Celsius outside! Our stock tank pool has been the perfect way to beat the heat. My husband and I have spent many afternoons floating around in it, cold beer in hand, and it only took us a weekend to complete the entire project.

In this post, I’ll walk you through what a stock tank is, step-by-step instructions about how to build your own pool, the supplies you’ll need, maintenance tips, and answer my most frequently asked questions. Let’s dive in (to the post, not the pool! 😉 )

My backyard oasis.

What IS a Stock Tank, exactly?

A stock tank is a large round or oval-shaped tub traditionally designed to hold drinking water for livestock. Gardeners often use them as large, raised planter beds too. Made from galvanized steel, they are rust-resistant, keep the water cool, and are built to last a long time.

Why Do They Make Good Pools?

  • Cost: At around $500-600 USD, they are a very cost-effective way to have a pool in your yard.
  • Versatility: Did you know that you can convert your tank into a hot tub? We plan to do it this upcoming winter and will update you on how it turns out! Otherwise, you can easily drain and store it at the end of each season until it’s warm enough to use again.
  • Durability: When properly taken care of, a stock tank pool should last you well over 10 years.
  • Aesthetic: Creative imaginations can run wild with a stock tank pool! With a coat of paint, cute pool toys, string lights, and an umbrella, you can truly make it your own masterpiece. For some inspiration, take a look at my Backyard Inspo Pinterest board to see all the amazing different ways people have styled theirs!
  • Size: They don’t take up much space at all, unlike a traditional or above-ground pool.
  • Low Maintenance: The filter pump will do all the hard work for you. Just get a hand net, chlorine tablets and floater and you’re good to go!

What You’ll Need

  • Stock Tank – My recommendation would be to contact your local feed store(s) to browse their selection. If you don’t have any near you, the Tractor Supply Co site is another good option. They offer lots of different shapes and sizes so you can choose one that best suits what you’re looking for!
  • Intex Filter Pump (1500 GPH) – Having a pump will keep the water circulating and clean of debris. I’ve found that the 1500 GPH option is often out-of-stock, so you can also use the 1000 GPH or 2500 GPH if needed. Another more affordable option is to head to Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. People frequently list them on both platforms.
  • 2 3/4” Hole Saw w/ Arbor – This is to drill the holes where you’ll place the inlet and outlet for the filter pump.
  • Strainer Connector Kit
  • Intex Plunger Valve
  • Silicone Caulk (optional)
  • Spray Paint (optional)

Step 1 – Get the stock tank to your house.

First things first, you need to get the stock tank to your home. Many feed stores are happy to offer delivery services for an additional fee. Alternatively, if you (or a friend) have a large pickup truck, you could strap the tank securely into the bed and drive slowly.

Step 2 – Prepare the ground.

Wherever you choose to place your pool, make sure that the ground is level. You’ll want to do a visual inspection and remove any rocks or debris. It may help to use a shovel and some leveling sand to even the surface out.

Step 3 – Prime and paint the exterior.

This step is optional, but a pop of color can add a really nice visual touch! We went with a seafoam green and loved how it turned out. Tip: Let it dry overnight before proceeding to Step 4.

Please also note that you should NOT coat or paint the inside of a stock tank.

Step 4 – Install the filter pump.

Since installing the pump involved drilling and quite a bit of precision, I let my husband handle this part. He used this how-to video for guidance; It’s only 10 minutes long and does a great job of clearly explaining how to complete this vital step.

The entire Stock Tank Pools Youtube channel is a great resource for stock tank pool owners, so be sure to check their other videos out too!

Step 5 – Fill up and enjoy!

Using our garden hose, it took about 1.5 hours to fill up the entire tank. We were inside cooling off in no time at all, and have been enjoying the addition to our backyard ever since! It is, by far, one of my favorite features of our home.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How deep is it? 2 feet – Perfect for soaking and floating.
  2. Does the water get hot? Since its’ purpose is to hold drinking water for animals, it stays relatively cool. In the event that it does get too warm for your liking, you can easily run cool hose water into it. Solar covers and large outdoor umbrellas will help with this, too.
  3. How many people can fit inside? This will depend on the size of your stock tank. Our 8-footer comfortably holds 4-5 adults. We could squeeze 6 in there if we really wanted to.
  4. What type of maintenance does it require? As with any pool, you will need to treat the water with chlorine tablets. Be sure to use a floater, as placing tablets directly into the pool could result in rusting/degradation of the steel. You’ll also want to keep a hand net (also known as a skimmer) nearby to easily scoop out any debris such as leaves or insects. With these two items, our water has stayed crystal clear.

So there you have it! A creative, inexpensive way to stay cool in the summertime for years to come. If you decide to build your own stock tank pool, be sure to tag me in your Instagram photos so I can see your beautiful creations and get inspired all over again!

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