The ULTIMATE Stock Tank Pool DIY Setup Guide (3 easy steps)!

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Step 1: Tank size and location

Backyard Stock tank pool by @astrollthrulife

Backyard Stock tank pool by @astrollthrulife

Flat & Level No matter where you put your pool, you'll need two things for its location: 1) it should be flat: free of rocks, roots, and humps, and 2) the location should be level (minimal or no slope). Many owners already have a spot in their yard that fits this requirement, but double-check with a construction level and visual inspection first. It may pay off to level the area with a shovel and some sand.

Decks We highly recommend against placing stock tank pools on decks, due to their weight. However, if you decide to place it on a deck, be VERY careful about weight. An 8' stock tank weighs as much as a large SUV when filled, so be sure the structure can hold it.

Other amenities Consider if you'll add steps or a ladder, a deck, or other landscaping around the pool. Be sure to account for room around the pool. 

⚠️ Safety and drowning prevention PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t underestimate the drowning risk of stock tank pools, especially for young children. No matter their size, pools present a significant drowning risk and it is up to you to decide whether a pool of any kind is right for you. See our Pool Safety and Drowning Prevention Guide for 5 tips to make your pool safe.

Pick a size and shape

Round or oval? There are two shapes of stock tanks. The round shape is better for multiple people and kids, allowing room to spread out. Oval stock tanks are long and skinny, so they're better suited for one or two people. That said, the 8’ round stock tank is by far the most popular.

Round sizes The largest of the stock tanks, round shapes come in two sizes (These tanks have 2' tall sides): 

  • 8' diameter (The Big Kahuna) is the most popular for families - the 8' tank can accommodate up to 4 adults or 5 children

  • 6' diameter (The Watering Hole) is good for couples or small families - the 6' tank can hold two adults easily

  • Note: there are other sizes up to 14' but these two are the most common

Oval sizes have more sizes to choose from, but we recommend three: 

  • 3' x 8' (2' tall) this is the largest oval tank. It can hold up to two adults, or one comfortably. Bonus: it has room for your air mattress!

  • 2' x 6' (2' tall) holds one adult comfortably or two kids. It's just long enough to "stretch out" but is best for sitting

  • 2' x 4' (2' tall) this is the $99 tank that gets you started for about the cost of a grocery run! It's compact, so we dubbed it the "tiny home" of stock tank pools. It gets the job done!

Check out one of the kits!

3' x 8' Oval Stock tank pool

3' x 8' Oval Stock tank pool


Step 2: Install the filter pump

One of the most important ways to keep your pool looking clean and feeling fresh all summer is to add a filter pump from Intex. It’s the perfect solution because it filters debris and circulates water. Designed for above ground pools, this pump is a fairly simple DIY to install in a stock tank pool with just four simple parts from Amazon. For detailed instructions, see the video and parts list below!

A few notes: The pump comes with one through-fitting for the outlet into the pool, so you’ll need to buy an inlet strainer fitting which is listed below from Bestway. Valves are also neccessary in order to change the filter and maintain the pump, otherwise, water will pour from the pool into your lap! Both through fittings require a 2 3/4” hole through the pool, so be sure you have a hole saw attachment. Depending on your style of stock tank, you may need to use silicone caulk to seal the fittings (see video for an explanation).

Parts list (see below step 3 for pictures):

  1. Intex Filter Pump: Amazon (this includes an outlet, but no inlet strainer or valve)

  2. 2 3/4” Hole Saw w/ Arbor: Amazon

  3. Pump Inlet Strainer + Outlet w/ Two Valves: Note: due to the popularity of stock tank pools in 2019, this item is a work-around while other products are out of stock. It includes an outlet jet as well, which is already included with the Intex Filter Pump.

  4. (Optional) Intex Valves (2 pack): Amazon (not needed if you purchase the pump strainer above)

  5. (Optional) 100% Silicone Caulk: Amazon


Step 3: Keep your water clear and blue all summer!

Stock Tank Pool by @Hill_Country_ FARM_CHick

Stock Tank Pool by @Hill_Country_ FARM_CHick

Stock tank pool by @mrslaurenash

The last step is to maintain the water in your pool throughout the summer. Stock tank pools are great when they're clean and clear. They're not so great when murky, grimy, and full of debris, so don't forget that stock tank pools require maintenance and upkeep.

Maintaining your water

Once you’ve installed the filter pump, simply add one or two 1” chlorinating tabs each week and use a skimmer net to remove larger debris like leaves, twigs, and bugs. In addition, you’ll need to replace the filter occasionally, which can last between 2 weeks and 2 months, depending on much dirt and debris gets in your pool. More details are in the video below. Here is the kit we recommend:

Upgrade your filters!

Utility Drain Pump

A utility drain pump can help drain water down to 1/8” of an inch, which is helpful when you’re winterizing your pool.


(Step 2 Cont.) Installing a filter pump? Buy these parts!

For around $150, this kit will keep your stock tank pool looking clean, clear, and blue all summer! Warm, still water tends to grow yucky things like algae and bugs, leading to scum build up. The chlorinating tablets prevents algae and bugs from growing. Plan to 2-3 tabs each week. Meanwhile, the Intex filter pump combo will circulate the water while filtering dirt and debris. You'll need to replace or clean the filter about once a month, depending on how much debris and dirt gets into your pool. 

Intex Pump Filter Combo 1500 GPM

Bestway Pump Inlet Strainer w/ Valve

Note: this item is sold out as of 6/10/2019. Click here for an alternate pump Inlet with Valve from Intex.

2 3/4” Hole Saw w/ Arbor

Intex Plunger Valves

While you’ll only need one valve, they’re sold in a 2 pack (the inlet strainer kit come with a valve).


(Step 3 Cont.) To maintain your stock tank pool, buy these!


Floating Chlorine Dispenser

1” Chlorinating Tablets

Replacement Filters (6 pack)

8’ Skimmer Net w/ Telescoping Pole

Intex Solar Pool Cover


Not interested in chemicals? Go saltwater!


Intex Saltwater Chlorinator*

*Requires 1500 GPM Intex filter pump combo

Pool Salt (40 lb)


Note: Shipping can be very expensive.
Local pickup at your Walmart or hardware store will save you money.



NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN UNATTENDED IN A POOL. Pools present a drowning risk, no matter their size or depth. Children should never be left unattended in a pool, whether stock tanks or not. Even though a stock tank is 2' shallow they still present a drowning and safety hazard. Children and adults can drown in as little 6" of water. It is up to you evaluate whether a pool, stock tank or not, is safe for you and your family. And just for good measure, we'll say it again NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN UNATTENDED IN A POOL.


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