What is a Stock Tank Pool and Why do You Need One?

All the rage on social media, stock tank pools are trending for this summer. Though they’ve been around a while these clever backyard accessories have gained in popularity lately. A few years back a viral image known as the “Hillbilly Hot Tub,” started circulating with several people inside a fire-heated stock tank that had been raised off the ground. This isn’t the first time someone had this idea and many additional images soon followed. While no one is suggesting that it’s safe to make human soup out of yourself like the people in that picture seemed to be doing, the uses of the common stock tank came to the public eye thanks, in part, to that photo.

Now you can find stock tanks used as fish ponds for koi in decorative gardens and used as turtle homes. You don’t have to look very far to find smaller stock tanks being used as bathtubs, and of course, there are plenty of people who use them in lieu of coolers. Small stock tanks full of ice and cold beverages are excellent for parties. Perhaps the best stock tanks, however, are the ones being used as swimming pools.

Stock Tank History

These ingenious adaptions were originally intended for watering livestock. Thus the name ‘Stock Tank,’ describes exactly what it is. They are still widely used for the original purpose on farms and ranches. In hot summers it has always been fairly common for people to take a quick dip. Children who grew up on cattle ranches in places like Texas almost inevitably have fond memories of swimming in the stock tanks on those lazy ‘Indian summer’ days you find so often in the south.

Finding your Stock Tank

Because they can hold 30 to 1500 gallons, the sheer number of potential uses is almost endless. Suppliers tend to have plenty of stock tanks around so they aren’t hard to find. You can get a variety of sizes at most feed supply stores. Some pet stores also keep them in stock. Though typically this means the smaller tub-sized models, many shops are happy to put in a custom order for you as well.

Naturally, the internet has a plethora of stock tank dealers, some make custom pool models, other only sell the classic version. You can find them easily on farm supply sites or you can look around for used models to upcycle if you prefer an eco-friendly option. Make certain to check the condition over carefully if you choose to go with pre-owned. For your own safety and that of any guests and loved ones who might want to relax in the water with you make absolutely sure there are no leaks, sharp edges or rust problems before you buy.

Above Ground Pools

One of the most common uses for these amazing pre-made pools is the most obvious. It is very quick and easy to simply set one up in whatever outdoor area you have designated and use them as above ground pools. With the metal sides, it isn’t difficult or very time consuming to have a professional plumber run a water line. You can install heat in numerous ways if you want to swim all year. Unlike the inflatable options from big box stores, a stock tank pool will never deflate. You don’t need to worry about something a small as a scratch leading to water loss that turns your yard into a bog. Galvanized steel is a lot stronger and more durable than anything that comes folded up in the mail.

In-Ground Options

Burying a stock tank pool is a great inexpensive solution for a more traditional look. You will need a filter and pump like any swimming pool to avoid water stagnation and you’ll need to run a water line to fill it. What you won’t need is to spend all the extra time on pouring and edging choices, drying time and the dozens of details that you would need in order to put in a more expensive pool.

The Downside

As is always the case with metal toys and gear, stock tanks can absorb a lot of heat. You may want to look into an awning to help keep the sides from getting too toasty in the summertime heat. The buildup of algae and bacteria around the edges and bottom of a pool can be problematic and a bit difficult to clean. In addition to using pool chemicals in a nice float, you’ll want a drainage spigot so you can clean your stock tank pool as necessary. Never drop a chlorine tab directly in a galvanized pool. Mosquitoes and insects, as well as small animals, are often drawn to pools. Make certain you use a good cover when yours is not in use and you can even get fancy with mosquito netting if you have a smaller model.

Final Thoughts

A good stock tank pool can fit in anywhere. They aren’t hard to decorate around and come in a wide variety of sizes. You could probably even use a stock tank pool as an indoor option if you are feeling adventurous. It’s just not hard to understand why stock tank pools have become so popular. With the versatility and price, they’re hard to beat.


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