Stock tank pools are affordable, versatile, and can be installed with just a few tools. Learn how to set up and care for your own with these stock tank pool ideas.
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Your very own backyard swimming pool is finally within reach. Stock tank pools offer a budget-friendly DIY alternative to traditional pools, and they're filling up backyards around the country. A country-style twist on inflatable kiddie pools, these pools are made using large tanks originally used on farms as water troughs for livestock. Usually made of galvanized metal, the bins are filled with water and hooked up with a filter pump to create an outdoor wading pool. The idea is to provide relief from the summer heat without having to invest in the installation of an in-ground pool, which requires professional help and can cost several thousands of dollars. If you're thinking about outfitting your backyard with a DIY stock tank pool, our guide below will walk you through all the essentials you need to know, including where to buy stock tanks and how to install and maintain your pool. Follow these stock tank pool guidelines and enjoy soaking in the sun all summer long.

Where to Buy Stock Tank Pools

Stock tank pools can be found at agriculture supply retailers like Tractor Supply Company, Fleet Farm, and Wilco. Look for one that's at least 2 feet deep and large enough for your desired number of people. Small, oval-shaped pools can work for a single adult or a couple of young kids, but 6- to 8-foot round stock tanks are ideal for groups of two or more. The smallest options start at around $150, and larger sizes can cost up to about $500.

Most stock tanks are made of galvanized steel, but you can also find plastic stock tanks, which are typically more affordable and lightweight (but less durable) than metal versions. Because of the hard edges on galvanized stock tank pools, a plastic tank could be a safer choice for use with kids.

How to Set Up a Stock Tank Pool

Once you've purchased a stock tank, choosing the right location is the first step in setting up your pool. The tub must be placed on a flat, level surface that's free from rocks, roots, and other obstructions. If needed, use leveling sand and a tamper to even out the ground. If you choose to install your stock tank pool below the ground's surface, make sure the hole has a completely flat bottom and straight sides before setting the tank inside. Because of the heavy weight, placing a stock tank pool on a deck is not recommended.

Before filling it up, install a filter pump ($131, Target) to keep your stock tank pool clean and free from mosquitoes and algae. This typically requires drilling holes for the pump's inlet and outlet into the side of the tank and feeding the pump hardware through. For a permanent, leaf-proof seal, apply waterproof silicone sealant ($14, Walmart) around the holes. Use a hose to fill your stock tank pool with water, checking for leaks as you go. If needed, apply a sealant over any leaky areas and let dry before refilling.

For added personalization, some homeowners surround their stock tank pool with a deck, landscaping rocks, or pavers. Spray paint is an easy way to update the exterior with a new color or metallic finish.

How to Filter and Clean a Stock Tank Pool

You can treat most stock tank pools as you would an above-ground pool. Regularly skim the surface with a pool net ($12, Target) to remove debris, and consider purchasing a pool vacuum to clean the bottom. A filter pump will keep the water moving to help ward off bacteria or algae growth and prevent mosquitoes and other bugs from breeding. Get one that is specially made for above-ground pools and suitable for your pool's size.

If you decide to add pool chemicals, such as chlorine and shock solution, check the levels often using pool test strips ($15, Target) and beware of corrosion or rust. Before filling the tank, seal the interior with a rust-proof rubber coating, such as Flex Seal ($13, The Home Depot). Using a chlorine float instead of adding the chemical tablets directly into the water can also help prevent the metal from rusting.

If your pool requires a deeper cleaning, the smaller size makes it easy to drain and refill. When the pool is empty, use a pressure washer to clear away build-up from the sides and bottom. If needed, use a scrub brush and soapy water to clear away any remaining dirt and grime; rinse clean.

To close your stock tank pool for the season, drain the water and flip the tank upside down or cover it with a tarp. The tanks are designed for year-round use on farms, so they're safe to store outside throughout the winter. Otherwise, you can store the tank in a garage or shed until the next pool season kicks off.

Comments (1)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
July 13, 2020
Any chemicals that might cause health issues, when absorbed through the skin?