by | Jan 30, 2021 | Garden, House & Home

Do you know how to set one up? Here’s a little stock tank pool DIY for ya!

I had no idea the stock tank pool idea was a thing… until I stumbled upon the idea last June – apparently when EVERYONE IN THE WORLD/USA also seemed to jump on the idea.

How to Set-Up a Stock Tank Pool

“Thanks” to the global pandemic/being stuck at home = combing every inch of Pinterest trying to find things to keep ourselves/kids busy.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small % back if you purchase after clicking, at no cost to you – refer to ‘disclosure policy’ in the ‘about” menu for more info.

One, unassuming evening, I was looking through Pinterest for some backyard oasis ideas because my youngest (14 at the time) was tearing out some small trees (TRUTH) and sizable shrubs to clear some space for our hammock, and umbrella, and maybe a bistro table and chairs.

Clearing the space for out stock tank pool

Get it, girl.

AND THEN I FOUND IT… THE STOCK TANK POOL. And once I did I immediately began channeling my inner toddler-level obsessive behavior response. I not only combed every hair of Pinterest for stock tank pool inspiration… I also joined 2 stock tank pool lovers Facebook groups.


The morning after the discovery of my new life’s passion, I began calling around to local feed stores… to no avail. I would soon find out that not only were there absolutely NO above ground pools available for purchase ANYWHERE ONE THE INTERNET, there were no galvanized stock tank pools available either.

Well, not in my area of the country (the PNW). I did find a few in Kansas though! Even my level of obsession was not strong enough to get me to drive to Kansas.

That night, before falling to sleep I made the confession to my husband, “Paul… I found this thing… stock tank pools… and I can’t stop thinking about it and I am so disappointed because there is not one of these things left anywhere in the country!”

Not unlike toilet paper, but I digress.

Him: “Have you looked on Facebook marketplace?”

Me: “Uh…DUH. YEAH. I TOLD YOU I HAVE LOOKED EVERYWHERE. But becuase i’ve given up all hope I haven’t looked online in the last couple hours.”

Him: opens Facebook Marketplace. Finds pool 180 miles away.

Me: Messages seller.

Spoiler alert: We bought our 8 foot galvanized stock tank pool on Facebook Marketplace. The woman who listed it had listed it no more than 2 hours before we checked. I was the first to message her and boyeeeee was that fortunate because when we reconnected later the next day she’d had FORTY messages about it.


Because there are is an overwhelming amount of information on stock tank pools, I am not going to reinvent the wheel here. But I will highlight some of our moving and installation process, and highlight some of the ways I keep my pool clean and rust-free… so here is my own stock tank pool DIY journey!

Transporting the Stock Tank

A search on the internet will offer-up several adequate approaches to transporting a HUGE METAL WINDSOCK. ? This was our first effort:

This is NOT how we recommend moving a stock tank pool.

The above method was NOT the solution. About 20 minutes on the road (did I mention the stock tank we purchased was 180 miles away?) one of the straps snapped and was it quite the adventure trying to get that monster strapped back up on the side of the freeway to drive a handful of miles to the nearest Napa and pray they had a tow light kit (similar here). We got the last kit! ??

On the side of the road while trying to re-secure our load I googled something like “wide load washington state” and mercy of all traveling mercies an 8 foot stock tank is just 6 inches smaller than the maximum width so with the help of the tow lights we were able to be street legal…

Our preferred and recommended way to transport a stock tank pool.

We got home and then we…

Moving the stock tank pool - all hands on deck!

If you look closely at the photo above, you will see the help of a dolly under that stock tank. I’m not gonna sugar coat this moment… my entire family nearly broke up with me over this. And that dolly will never be the same.

Admiring my stock tank

Leveling Your Stock Tank Pool

Sand, y’all. Bags and bags of sand. Talk about a stock tank pool DIY activity…

And physical labor.

Before I dig into that story, check out the transformation of the pool space:

Clearing room for our pool.

We needed to dig up several stumps, and dig down a bit since the spot was not super-duper level.

Setting up the area for the pool

The stepping stones (on the left) were laying around in our yard. This is one example where hoarding can serve a person well. The sand we used was just cheap bags of sand from Home Depot. We used around 5 bags or so.

Our method: To dig out the right size for our pool I used a tape measure and began with the “center” (I pounded in a stick to help me keep track of the spot) and measured 4 feet and a couple inches radiating from there. I had to move the center a couple of times (a few inches here or there) to finally get the placement *just right*.

Why sand? Sand is SO much easier to make level than dirt. We poured a few bags of sand out and raked it out… adding more sand as needed. We (by WE I mean my husband) ran a 2×4 over the sand to work towards leveling perfection. We also used a level to confirm said level-ness.

Leveling the ground

PRO TIP: TRUST THE LEVEL. Not your instinct/eyeball senses on what is or is not level.

In the end, we nailed it pretty beautifully. It is not 100% spot-on level, but pretty tight. The waterline in the pool gives the error away, but only by an inch. We are pretty proud of ourselves!

Placing the above ground pool

Stock Tank Pool DIY – The Filter Pump

Stock tanks do not come equipped with openings for a pump. I feel like we struck gold with our stock tank because the previous owners had taken care of that task for us and our purchase came with the Intex Pump we needed (which was also impossible to find!). This also means that I can’t tell you the details on how to do it, but follow this link here for the tutorial (video!) on how to get this part done. It’s the tutorial the previous owners used, and the tutorial I had bookmarked for us to follow when I began my research. That site is a WELLSPRING of information… and recognized as the foremost source of solid information for those of us who have and want to join the STP family.

It really is a family. Or a cult. Probably both.

Do I feel a pump is necessary? For me, absolutely. I have done a lot of research and have found many people who do not use one, but I suspect they are not as picky as me and/or spend an inordinate amount of time using other methods… or drain their pool often.

The stock tank pool filter

In the beginning I ran our pump a couple of hours a day. That was fine, until we left for about a week and the pump didn’t get turned on while we were away. After that, I found running the pump much of the day helped maintain the level of clarity I prefer… near-perfect clarity 😉

There were a couple of weeks we had a lot of ash due to fires and I ended up running our pump all day and night for several full days to help.

Did You Use Anything Besides the Pump to Keep Your Pool Clean?

That’s a great question! How about a bullet list for your stock tank pool DIY…

  • Pool chemical test – I used this mostly the first few weeks because I was concerned about over chlorination. Too much chlorine can cause rust. Eventually I learned how much chlorine seemed to work for our pool and typical use.
  • Chlorine floater
  • 1″ chlorine tablets – I kept up to 2 in my floater, replacing as needed. WARNING: I would pull my floater completely out and away from the pool when opening and replacing chlorine tablets. I read story after story about people dropping tablets into their pool and causing rust. Just don’t let chlorine touch your tank directly. I like the flexibility of 1″ tabs. A couple times I needed to use 3 tabs when the pool had been used more, or pump hadn’t been run enough. But overall, two 1″ tabs was the sweet spot for our pool.
  • Baking soda – when the pool seemed cloudy (sometimes every few days), I would dissolve a 1/2 cup baking soda with water and toss it in the pool. And baking soda is not a harmful chemical so won’t hurt the galvanized steel.
  • Two solar fountains – keeps still water moving and the sound along with a wind chime or two is just divine…
  • Pool skimmer – I loooove pool skimming time. I will use the time to talk to my pool. Yes. You read that right. And/or I’d use that time to listen to books or podcasts… or just the birds.)
  • Super Soaker/water launcher – I swirl the pool water (whirlpool!) using the net and leave it to let it settle. Then I use a water launcher to suction the dirt that settles to the bottom. The swirling brings most of the debris to the middle, making it easy to suck up and shoot out!
  • Pool cover – a cover helps reduce debris in the pool, but if no one is using the pool for days… it is important to remove the cover for periods of time, particularly if you are using chlorine! Just like you let wine breathe, let your pool breathe too 😉

Other Fun Stuff

Part of the fun of the stock tank pool vibe is the … BLING! So here are links to some of the fun stuff that you won’t neeeeeed but I am pretty sure you’re gonna want:

Fun Extras for the pool

I think I have given you enough to process for now. That list will give you a SOLID start for leveling-up your stock tank pool oasis game.

What do you think? I won’t claim that this effort is NO work. But I will say it’s not a ton either. Of course, I didn’t have little kids playing in mine everyday. I believe more use requires more attention – “vacuuming” (water launcher), skimming, and more chlorine too. For me, the pool was a quiet place to escape either while floating or just looking out through my kitchen window where I could see and hear the solar fountains doing their adorable job.

A quick Pinterest search will reveal the extreme efforts folks will take to outfit their stock tank pool area… some build decks around theirs and some even paint their pools… which is ADORABLE but also NOT FOR ME. At least not right now. The galvanized stock tank is not an easy paint job, so unless one starts having rust issues… and unless you go crazy with chemicals, rust should be an issue.

Nighttime oasis: Stock Tank Pool DIY

Of course there are pool liners options, and even plastic stock tanks too.

And last, but not least… PRACTICE WATER SAFETY. If you have kids or animals… take the necessary steps for safety. As cute as this can be, it still comes with all the dangers that pools pose.

If you have any questions about this stock tank pool DIY, please let me know. I will do what I can to share our advice and/or point you to where solid advice can be found!

Stock Tank Pool Set-up/DIY

If you like this DIY… check out my other home improvement projects:

In other stock tank news… if a STP isn’t in your own backyard’s future… head on over to Nebraska and go tanking. Not familiar with tanking? It’s floating down a river IN a stock tank pool. I am totally adding that to my life list, btw…

Tanking - stock tank river float

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