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Hot Summer Trends: Stock Tank Pools For the Summer


June 20, 2021

Beach Ball in Pool

In-ground pools are popular and beloved homeowner investments that not only increase property values but also increase the level of fun you can experience in the summer months. On the downside, in-ground pools can be prohibitively expensive for many homeowners. In fact, the average in-ground pool installation can run $35,000 or more. Yikes!

Compared to the cost of installing a solar panel system that would provide significant energy savings and be good for the environment, installing an in-ground pool falls short on the list of homeowner priorities and renovations. Not to mention the ongoing maintenance and repairs needed to keep an in-ground pool maintained.

If you want all of the fun from in-ground pools with a significantly less upfront investment, a stock tank pool may be right for you. Cute, chic, and affordable. A stock tank pool is super easy to install and design on your own. Best of all, it is super low maintenance, so you can spend more time basking in the sun and less time worrying about clean-up.

What Is a Stock Tank Pool?

Backyard Stock Tank Pool

If you do not know what a stock tank is, you are not alone, most people are not familiar with these massive cylindrical containers mainly used on farms and ranches that raise livestock. Essentially, a stock tank is a super-sized metal bucket. While that does not sound too appealing at first, you can shed its industrial look with a variety of creative designs.

On the farm, stock tanks are placed strategically on the property to act as watering stations for livestock such as cattle, sheep, and horses. Keeping a large number of these farm animals well hydrated is made easier and simpler with these mega containers. Stock tanks vary in size from 3 and 10 feet in diameter as well as 2 to 3 feet in depth.

Stock tanks are generally made from thick, galvanized metal. Their bare galvanized metal construction is perfect for industrial uses. Not only is it affordable, but it includes a tough protective coating to make the tank ultra durable, resistant to rust, and puncture proof. Talk about heavy duty.

Dubbed the Mason Jar of Backyard Pools, these retro pools were very popular back in the day of your grandparents, but fell out of favor up until recently. Today, these simple and utilitarian metal buckets have been transformed into compact, fun, and colorful residential pools that you and your family can enjoy in your home.

The following items are necessary for stock tank pool installation and use:

  • Stock tank
  • Above ground pool pump and filter
  • Plunger valves
  • Inlet strainer
  • Hole saw with arbor
  • Safety glasses
  • Weatherproof silicone caulk
  • Chlorine tablets
  • Chlorine tablet floater
  • Water test kit
  • Pool skimmer
  • Pool cover

Behlen 8ft Round Stock Tank

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

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Hudson Valve Tank Float Valve, 1 in.

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Diablo Bi-Metal Hole Saws DB 1 X60MM HOLE SAW

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Carhartt Billings Gray Lens Safety Glasses

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True Value Window & Door Silicone Caulk, Clear, 9.8-oz.

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HTH 3-In. Super Chlorinating Tablets, 15-Lbs.

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Benefits of a Stock Tank Pool vs. Inground Pool

At first glance, a stock tank may seem like a cold and lackluster container that screams the opposite of fun. However, with a bit of elbow grease and a limitless imagination, you can convert a dreary metal bucket into a haven for resting and relaxation.

Compared to a traditional in-ground pool, stock tank pools offer numerous advantages.

Let us start with the price. A traditional in-ground pool installation can run you between $20,000 and $30,000. Compare that with a new galvanized metal stock tank that you can get for between $100 to $200. That is the difference between night and day in terms of cost.

In addition, stock tank pools do not require excavation or professional installment which can increase your labor costs. If you are generally handy and have a knack for DIY projects, setting up a stock tank pool can be a fun and rewarding project for the summer months.

Stock tank pool costs can include the cost for a small filter and pump (about $100) to keep your water clean and fresh. By using any leftover lumber or salvaged wood from your property, you can build a small deck on the cheap to elevate your backyard paradise.

In-ground pools require large pumps that can use a ton of energy to keep the water clean all season long. In-ground pools have ongoing maintenance costs every month that may be out of your budget. For instance, a 1 HP pool pump uses around 2,500 kWh of energy annually. Pool filtration could run you about $30 per month during the hot summer months.

Stock tank pools’ relatively smaller size enables homeowners to invest in a smaller pump to keep up with water filtration. For stock tank pools, a 1,000 gallon per minute pump, also used for above-ground pools, will do the trick. This pump can run you between $50 and $100 and use considerably less energy than an inground pool pump.

If your kids have outgrown the flimsy kiddie pool that keep getting holes and are tired or replacing them or if you just want something a bit sturdier for their roughhousing and fun, a stock tank pool is the way to go.

Unlike an in-ground pool, you can empty and move your stock tank pool into a storage space during the winter months.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Stock Tank Pool

Now that we have convinced you why it is a good idea to save some money with a stock tank pool without sacrificing the fun you will have this summer, let us go over some of the most important considerations to take into account when investing in a stock tank.

Generally, stock tanks are made out of galvanized steel metal, but you can purchase a commercial plastic stock tank, which may not get as hot as the galvanized steel version.

Size

How big is your household? Do you expect to have guests? How big is your yard? All of these questions can determine the perfect size for your pool. Generally, commercial stock tank options come in 6-foot and 8-foot diameters, although smaller and larger options are available.

  • 6-foot diameter: A smaller stock tank is perfect for homeowners with a smaller yard and a very small household (2 people). It is easier to move with a few buddies on a pickup, too.
  • 8-foot diameter: A larger stock tank is slightly more expensive but is great for households above 2 people. It can hold about 700 gallons of water.

If it is just you at your cabin retreat, a pill-shaped stock tank can be enough for a single person. A 4 foot round stock tank can be good for one person, too.

Behlen 8ft Round Stock Tank

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

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Depth

How deep do you want your stock tank to be? Generally, stock tanks are available in depths of 2 feet.

Two feet may not sound deep enough, especially if you like diving into pools, but you would be surprised how well it works. When sitting in the pool, in the largest tank available, you can easily stretch out and lounge by the side of the tank with the water level up to your neck and float or even swim around the perimeter.

This depth is a good choice for families with younger children as long as there is adult supervision. While stock tank pools are not as deep as regular in-ground pools, the proper safety measures should be followed to prevent drownings.

Shape

Round or oval-shaped stock tanks? Which one is best for your home? For large families, an 8 foot round stock tank is the right choice. Oval stock tanks are a bit cheaper but can only hold about 2 people.

Filtration

The type of filter you use will depend on how big your stock tank pool is and the frequency of use. For instance, a 2 foot by 4 foot oval stock tank that is used sparingly can be refilled and emptied with each use. If used here and there, it may seem like you are using more water, but you save on the energy costs of installing and using a pump filter.

For permanent and larger pools, a filtering system is necessary, especially when it is in full use during the hot summer months. A filtration system can help keep your pool water soft, clean, and refreshing.

Without a filtration system it takes a lot of time and manual labor to clean a stock tank pool even though it is much smaller than the alternative in-ground pool. A net for clearing away bugs and chlorine tablets can only do so much every week.

For mosquitos, a pump can keep things filtered. In addition, covering the tank when not in use with a mosquito netting or other covering can help keep the bugs away.

Stock Tank Design Ideas

Pool Floats

Now that we have got the technical stuff out of the way, let us explore some fun design ideas that can convert your drab stock tank into an eye-catching and inviting retreat.

Gray galvanized metal is not exactly welcoming and can even conflict with the look of the rest of your yard, patio, or deck. Fortunately, a little bit of paint and imagination can create an inspired stock tank pool look.

Paint

Paint is an easy and affordable fix to make your stock tank more charming and aesthetically pleasing. After a few coats of paint, it can transform from a dark grey bucket into an Instagram-worthy pool. Matte patterns, chromatic designs, it is all up to you.

If painted, however, you may have trouble with chipping. Over the years, as your stock tank exterior wears down you can sand it down and make the paint more long-lasting on the tank.

Decking

If you feel like the stock tank exterior is an eyesore or just want to create a more inviting relaxation space, surrounding a part or all of the stock tank pool with decking can completely transform your backyard into a bohemian retreat.

Spruce up the area with a shade umbrella, lounging chairs, and some outdoor plants and you are good to go. You can even add a shade covering above the stock tank pool for extra comfort.

On a similar note, set up a customized bench area so you can dangle your feet into the pool while sitting above the stock tank. Invest in some pressure-treated wood for the benchtop and stands and bracing as well as some deck screws to complete your paradise setting.

Accessories

Liven up your aquatic oasis with a bevy of fun and colorful accessories. Shade umbrellas, pool floats, string lights, bistro tables and chairs, and tiki torches can really transport you to a faraway land. In addition, a colorful and summer-friendly cup holder float is a convenient and fun touch. Make sure to have a designated towel area such as hooks or holders nearby.

RealComfort Adirondack Chair

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Portable Hammock and Frame with carry bag

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Rustic Wooden Patio Cooler, 87 qt.

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Padded Edge

Relax with ease and comfort with a padded edge surrounding the perimeter of your stock tank pool. For a quick and easy fix, cut a pool noodle in half lengthwise and wrap it on the rim of the tank so you can lounge and lay back without feeling the hard and sometimes scorchingly hot metal edge. You can also use pipe insulation, which can be found pre-cut to specific lengths.

Privacy

If you want to relax in privacy and limit outside distractions, you can build or buy your very own privacy screen or privacy set-up. For the full effect, build a stone walkway leading up to your private getaway within your private backyard.

Ramp and Stairs

If you have kids at home or even pets who want to join in on the fun, building a ramp or stairs for easy access going up and down your pool can not only make it functional but give your stock tank a chic appeal.

Garden and Patio

Did you know that you do not have to use the stock tank pool for splish-splashing? Some homeowners have found a new use for it beyond the summer months. Homeowners can create a garden fountain or a pond in their outside space with a stock tank center.

Beyond the pool design, stock tanks can serve a variety of uses including:

Best Location for Stock Tank Pool

Large Backyard in Summer

Stock tank pools are easy to install, as long as you place them next to a water source for easier filling and near an electrical outlet (at most 25 feet away) to plug in the pump. Extension cords are not manufacturer recommended. In addition, we recommend putting your stock tank in a place where it does not get too blistering hot under the summer heat.

Just make sure your location has shade during the afternoon. While it can be tempting to put it under a tree, you may end up with a lot of leaves that fall inside.

Here is a quick primer on the installation process:

  1. Select a level ground or create a level surface where you plan to put your stock tank pool. We do not recommend placing it on decks since they may be too heavy for the supporting material.
  2. You can build a deck or other hardscape with brick, slate, or cement around your stock tank pool to elevate its appearance and minimize the risk of erosion from splashing in the pool.
  3. Positioning stock tank surface on the surface.

Stock tank pools can pretty much go anywhere under the sun. Put it on your patio and create a stunning and functional outdoor living space.

Some homeowners have even stood in the middle of their garden space surrounded by raised garden beds and fenced off to keep animals and pets away.

Homeowners have also dug a hole to sink the stock tank. If doing this, just make sure you level the surrounding ground for better looks and support.

Drainage

Draining your stock tank is crucial to reducing that funky odor that can ruin your summer. Luckily, it can be super easy. In as little as 20 minutes, you can have a completely empty stock tank. Just make sure to put your drain plug at the lowest point that you can since there may be some water left at the end.

A shop vac can help suck out the leftover water but the vac can fill up quickly so you may end up emptying it out several times before you are done.

Some tanks feature a drain plug for quick draining but if it does not have one, you can install a drain pump for easy drainage. For drainage, you need to drill two, 3-inch holes into the side of the tank, one for the strainer and the other for the water jet.

The hole for the strainer can be about 3 to 6 inches from the bottom of the tank. The second hole of the filtered water jet can be a few inches below the water line on top. Once the holes are drilled, attach the jet, strainer cover, plunger valves, and hoses, in that order.

In the winter when the stock tank pool is no longer needed, you will want to completely drain it, and ensure that all of the residual chlorine is gone. Afterward, make sure that the tank is completely dry to avoid rust, and then cover it, and store it upside down during the winter.

Filtration

For filter installation, you may need to drill holes on the side of the stock tank to install the pump and filter. The electrical connection and installation process will depend on the type of filter in the pump you use. During the summer months, expect to run the pump between 2 to 4 hours per day depending on how much it was used.

In terms of chlorine tablets, how often you use them will depend on how often you use the pool. Generally, people use between 2 to 5 tablets per week. Just watch out for rust since chlorine can cause the tank to get rusted faster. Start with one tablet and build up as you need. If necessary, invest in rubber coating inside the tank to protect it from rust buildup.

Rather than letting the tablets sit on the bottom of the tank, or liner, is a good idea to dissolve the tablets in a bucket of water, then add them to the stock tank to reduce corrosion.

Shop Stock Tanks and Maintenance Supplies at Wilco Farm Stores

If you want to bring new life into your backyard this summer, shop for stock tanks and pool maintenance supplies at Wilco Farm Stores. We have stock tanks in a variety of small and large sizes from Behlen Country, a leading supplier of farm and ranch equipment.

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