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How to Build a DIY Stock Tank Hot Tub


September 3, 2021

DIY Stock Tank Hot Tub

Hot tubs can be a smart investment to your home and can help create a happier and healthier environment. Whether you want to entertain guests or use it after an intense workout, you will wonder why you did not install a hot tub sooner.

Even though hot tubs can be a worthwhile investment in your home, they can be pricey. In the search for an affordable and efficient hot tub, many homeowners have turned to creating their hot tub using affordable and easy-to-install materials.

Stock tank hot tubs are the latest craze that is here to stay. For homeowners with a cabin retreat or plenty of room in their backyard, an industrial stock tank for farm pastures or vegetable and flower planters can be transformed into a relaxing paradise in no time.

Stock Tank Pools and Hot Tubs

Stock tank pools were popular back in the day and have seen a resurgence of popularity due to their affordability, customization, and ease of installation. Now, these do-it-yourself pools are becoming the go-to option for many property owners and not just for summer. They are easy and fun to use during every season.

Due to their popularity as DIY pools, stock tanks have been converted into hot tubs to handle the chilly evenings and cooler months. While they take a bit of extra time and care to install, hot tubs made from stock tanks are an excellent addition to any home.

What Is a Stock Tank Hot Tub?

A stock tank is a large container designed for farms and ranches. These containers can be used by livestock for drinking water. They are usually made of galvanized steel or plastic and come in a range of sizes.

Do-it-yourselfers are now transforming these industrial stock tanks into attractive hot tubs for cheap. Building a stock tank hot tub is easier to do if you have got the right equipment and plenty of space on your property.

Advantages of Stock Tank Hot Tubs

Stock tank hot tubs have many advantages which is why they are quickly filling up backyards and gardens.

Rugged and Durable

Whether you buy plastic or metal, stock tanks can be durable enough to last you for many years, especially metal tanks. They are durable and strong and are capable of being quite comfortable with a few cozy additions.

Low Maintenance

These DIY tubs are relatively low maintenance compared to traditional hot tubs. Due to their relatively smaller size and lower volume, they are easier to heat, fill, and drain than traditional hot tubs.

Easy Installation

Creating your DIY hot tub is easier than you think. You do not need to be a professional electrician or pool installer to make your private escape. All you need is a stock tank, water, and the right plumbing and heating equipment.

Easy to Move

If you want to move your stock tank inside for any reason, it is much easier to move and more lightweight than traditional hot tub options.

Affordable

Compared to a traditional hot tub, stock tanks require a far lower upfront and ongoing investment. Stock tanks are considerably more affordable compared to the large amount you would pay for a traditional hot tub. Stock tank hot tubs can run you between $200-$800, saving you thousands of dollars in the process.

Shoulder-Deep

Many users are surprised to see that stop tank tubs are the perfect depth. While they may be deceptively small, they can fit up to 6 adults no problem and can provide you with shoulder-deep water so you can relax and lay back a bit.

Stylish

You can transform the industrial stock tank into an Instagram-friendly water vessel using a variety of materials such as wood, leather grain vinyl, split bamboo, and other materials and decorative accents.

Cabin-Friendly

Even if you are in a remote location, you can pair your rarely used stock tank tub with a no-electricity heating system using wood fire. Even if you rarely visit your cabin, and the tub is not used often, it is easy to fill, drain, and heat.

Drawbacks of Stock Tank Hot Tubs

First, let us start by addressing the drawbacks of building your own stock tank pool or hot tub. While there are some drawbacks, we will explain later the affordable ways you can overcome them all with the right setup.

Slime and Algae

Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Over time, it can develop pink slime and green or black algae. While there are chemicals that can help remove them, the fact is that standing water makes it difficult to maintain.

No Filtration

Stock tanks do not come with filtration which helps your hot tub stay free from debris. You will either have to manually keep your water filtered with a net every time you use it or you can invest in and install a filtration system.

Harsh Chemicals

In some cases, chemicals are used to keep the water clean, clear, and ready for use. However, that is not the ideal option. Luckily, there are better ways to sanitize your hot tub water without the need for chemicals.

Rust

Rust is an ever-present danger that can be worsened if you use chemicals such as chlorine tablets which can speed up rusting. When you drop chlorine tablets in the tub, the chlorine and water can react to form corrosive acids. Sealing the inside of the tub can prevent rust and corrosion. Also, letting chlorine dissolve in a bucket before adding too the tub can reduce material wear

Insects and Mosquitos

Standing water is the ideal hangout spot for insects and mosquitoes. While many are not worried or affected by these critters as much, others can be allergic to mosquito bites. Stock tank tubs require regular maintenance and care.

Uncomfortable

For some people, stock tanks may not be the most comfortable option if you want to relax. If you do not have any padding on the rim, you will not be able to comfortably rest your arms or neck on it. However, there are many ways you can increase your comfort levels in a stock tank pool or tub.

Jets and Bubbles

Generally, the more jets and bubbles in the hot tub there are, the more massaging and relaxing you will experience. Stock tanks do not come with jets and bubbles. You can install jets in a stock tank however, it will increase your costs and labor.

Alternatives to the Stock Tank Hot Tub

Wood tank hot tub

If you do not want to build a stock tank tub, you can go for the concrete block or cinder block look or even get a wooden tub. Keep in mind, this is more expensive to build and requires a bit more maintenance and ongoing costs. However, it may be a step up from the stock tank, if you are ready for the investment.

How to Build a DIY Stock Tank Hot Tub

Building a DIY stock tank hot tub is easier than ever. You can create one to meet your exact specifications and offset any common disadvantages. While it will not be as affordable as a DIY stock tank hot tub, it will still be more affordable than a concrete block hot tub and much easier to install.

If you want to turn your stock tank into a hot tub, you are going to need a large tank for water, as well as the right plumbing, heating, and jet system to give it the full hot tub experience.

Here is an overview of a stock tank setup:

  1. Buy all the parts (heater, pump, hoses, fittings)
  2. Choose an appropriate and level spot close to a power source.
  3. Install the heater.
  4. Cut/drill two holes in the side for through fittings. Cut holes for jets (optional).
  5. Connect the hoses to the heater and pump.
  6. Turn on the hot tub to check for leaks.
  7. Fill up the tank.
  8. Turn on the pump.

You can invest in insulation such as a floating insulation or a custom-made vinyl cover that can help insulate your tub.

Keep in mind, we recommend consulting a professional to help you create your own stock tank hot tub. An electrician can help you install your pool pump and pool heater safely and efficiently.

Choosing the Right Stock Tank

The main component of your hot tub will be the stock tank. Here are a few factors to consider when looking for the right stock tank.

Material

When searching for stock tanks, you will run across two main materials: metal and plastic.

Metal

Metal stock tanks are made of galvanized steel. They are corrosion-resistant and have a heavy zinc coating to extend their longevity. They usually have rigid sidewalls with ribs and corrugations for added strength.

They have heavy, reinforced steel rolled into the top lip for ultimate strength and durability. Metal stock tanks are between 12 and 24 inches depth, perfect for shoulder-high water. Choose from round or oblong shapes.

Plastic

Plastic stock tanks are another affordable and easy-to-install hot tub. These are made with FDA food-grade approved poly, tested to -20°F, corrosion-free, impact resistant and recyclable. They also include sloping sides and angled steps for strong support and durability. Just like metal stock tanks, they are also about 12 to 24 inches deep.

They usually have a 2-inch diameter rolled rim for easy comfort for the neck and arms. Plastic stock tanks come in 4, 6, and 8-foot length options. There are usually no 5-foot tank options. Plastic tanks are harder to insulate but can be attractive with wood paneling.

Behlen 6' Poly Round Stock Tank, 350 gal

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Behlen Poly Round End Tank, 100 gal

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Shape

You will have to choose between oblong or round stock tanks.

  • Oval tanks are perfect for one person or couples who sit on each end with legs side by side. These small tubs are easy to heat, fill, and drain. Common size options include 5 feet long and 2 feet wide and 6 feet long and 2 feet wide.

Behlen 2 x 2 x 4 ft. Stock Tank 103 Gallon

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  • Round tanks are the classic choice to fit a few people since it provides more space, leg room, and more water. Expect to fit between 4 to 5 people in a tank about 4-9 feet in diameter.

Size

Unlike traditional hot tubs, stock tanks have more legroom because there is no bench or footwell. They also require less water to heat and fill the container.

Generally, most homeowners choose a stock tank that is 6 feet in diameter. It is the perfect size for 4 to 5 adults. You can also go for the 5-foot round stock tank if you want a more cozy fit.

Here is a size chart with the size and shape, capacity, and usable water volume for each:

  • 2 ft. x 2 ft x 6ft. oblong tank; 2 people; 140 gallons

Behlen 2 x 2 x 6 ft. Stock Tank 169 Gallon

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  • 4 ft. round tank; 2 people; 135 gallons

Behlen 4 ft. Round Galvanized Stock Tank

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  • 5 ft. round tank; 4 people; 215 gallons

Behlen Glavanized 5 ft. Round Tank, 265 Gallon.

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  • 6 ft. round tank; 4-5 people; 315 gallons

Behlen 2' x 6' Round Stock Tank

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The usable water volume leaves about 3 to 4 inches at the top to compensate for body displacement.

Depth

Stock tanks are surprisingly deep, reaching shoulder depth for a comfortable experience. When sitting in the hot tub, you do not usually sit upright. Instead, you slouch a little in a relaxed position.

When choosing a stock tank, the ideal depth should be about shoulder high. Anything higher up to your chin can be uncomfortable and anything lower such as chest-high can leave your top exposed and cold.

In addition, consider the resting position for your arms. You want to be able to rest your arms on the stock tank’s rim or even lay your neck on it. The right depth can make this possible.

For those between 5 feet and 8 inches and 6 feet and 2 inches tall, a stock tank that is 22 to 24 inches deep should work. If you have kids in the house, putting in a small kid-size lawn chair inside can act as a booster seat.

Stock Tank Hot Tub Components and Supplies

Stock tank hot tub on wood deck

To begin, you will need an empty stock tank so you can cut the holes on the side to attach to spigots; one on top to pump in water and one below to drain it. You will need a filter to clean the water from debris before it goes into the pump and through the heater (connected to the propane tank) for heating. Then, your water will be heated and go back into the tank.

  • Propane hot water heater/spa heater (small 6L heater for under 8’ tanks or 10L heater for 8’ tank)
  • Water circulation pump
  • Tubing/hose to connect tank to heat and pump
  • Ball valve spigots
  • Adapter fittings
  • Inline water filter
  • Hole saw with arbor
  • Skimmer
  • Jets (4 to 16, depending on your preference and tank size)
  • Air blower for bubbles
  • Sealant or caulk to seal the components in place
  • Outdoor power strip with remote
  • Insulating pool cover
  • GFCI inline plug
  • Thermometer
  • Flat-head screwdriver

STANLEY 60-100 Standard Fluted Screwdriver Set, Steel, Black, Nickel

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  • Utility knife

Retractable Quick Change Utility Knife, 6 in.

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  • Adjustable pliers

Irwin Vise-Grip Groove Lock Adjustable Pliers, 10-In.

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  • Cordless drill

DeWalt 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Compact Cordless Drill & 1/2" Driver Kit

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For a wood-fired hot tub, you will need:

  • Coiled copper tubing and joints
  • Firewood
  • Fireproof container (steel drum)

Landscaping

Stock tanks look rustic and cool without any touch-ups, but you can also add a custom-fit deck to make it cozier. You can build a wood box to cover the plumbing if it becomes an eyesore. Surround your stock tank with decorative accents such as big rocks for a grotto look, outdoor furniture, and so much more.

Shop Stock Tank Supplies at Wilco Farm Stores

Ready to start your stock tank hot tub project?

Shop Wilco Farm Stores for stock tanks in a wide range of sizes. Find plumbing equipment to set up your backyard personal spa today.

We would love to see your DIY stock tank hot tub. Use #mywilcolife on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag Wilco Stores.

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