Everything You Need to Know about a Chlorine Stock Tank Pool
If a pool just doesn't fit in your budget or your yard, a stock tank pool is such a fun solution for kids (and adults) to dip into a cool pool on a hot day. We've had ours for many years and I wanted to share what we've learned.
How long will it last?
I feel like plastic or inflatable kiddie pools last no more than 1-2 summers, which I hate because of the waste added to landfills and money thrown away for a handful of months of use. After using this galvanized Hastings Equity stock tank from April to September for the past 5 or so years, we haven't seen any rust or wear. We keep it stored upside down in our yard in the off seasons.
How do I keep it clean?
If you've used kiddie pools, you know they get gross after a couple of days from leaf drop, mosquito larvae, algae, etc. Buy a stiff bristled broom to clean the bottom of the pool, regardless of if you plan to fill it up and dump it or if you install a pump in it. Every year before you get it set up, you'll want to give it a good scrub. There is a valve towards the bottom of the tank to unscrew to release the water. Consider where this will exit before you fill the tank (because it's too heavy to move once filled!) so you can either water a planting bed at the end of the summer or not send a muddy deluge to a path or patio.
If you diligently clean the pool with a pool skimmer net (no need for a long pole) and take it out and hose it off, the filters can last every 2 to 3 weeks. If you don't use a skimmer or wash off the filter, it will need to be replaced every week. So get some extras. It just depends on how much continuous debris finds its way into the pool.
Chlorine is critical to keeping the balance of the water so that it's clear. We use these chlorine tablets (3 at a time) in a floating chlorine dispenser, taking it out and turning off the pump when someone gets in. We've used a powdered chlorine in the past but it took a lot of testing. This is method with the tablets has been much easier. Since it's a chlorine system, we have not used a salt water system or sand pump, but would love someone to chime in in the comments if you have knowledge of different systems!
At the end of the season, you can store it on its side or preferably upside down if its staying outside (if you have the room). Detach the pump on via the 1 1/4" union (see notes below) and store the pump in a shed or garage for longevity.
How do I install a pump?
There's not a lot of detailed info on the internet about how to install a pump on a stock tank pool, nor is there a standard kit available, so we've figured out this system through trial and error. The PVC connectors and tubes are from Home Depot, and we've played around with how it connects each year, trying to find something that doesn't leak. So far this pump has done a good job, and it's the second one we've tried. I'm going to try to make it easy on you so that you just have to click on the links and create a shopping cart at Home Depot and Amazon. You'll drill 2 holes in the side of the tank with THIS 1.25" hole-saw bit, and install the following:
1. 1" to 3/4" threaded reducer bushing (x 2: one for each hole of inlet and outlet of pump)
2. 1 1/4" rubber washer (x2 for each hole)
5. 1 1/4" sch 40 PVC pipe (cut to 4 - 6")