Stock tanks have been all the rage the past few years. In reality, they were popular decades ago, but the internet wasn’t around to populate an idea every farm kid already knew about. Today’s modern stock tank pools are a bit more classy than the hot-day dunk of yesteryear, but as a full-time solution, they come with some caveats. Here are a few to look out for.
1. Uneven Water
As with any project, preparation is the key to success. The water level won’t cater to your ego. If the ground is even slightly uneven, you’ll have a lopsided water surface. With this in mind, be meticulous when preparing the ground. Depending on your situation, you’ll want to level the area and then create a base using crushed rock and/or sand. Lay a 2x4 or other board across the finished surface and place a level on top to ensure the bubble is inside the lines before placing your tank.
2. Placing on a Deck
While we’re on the subject of location, placing a stock tank pool on a deck is asking for trouble. A filled stock tank is heavy--most likely heavier than your deck can handle. Instead, place your stock tank on your prepared ground surface and build a deck around it.
3. Forgetting Necessary Setup Accessories
Technically, you could put a stock tank in the yard, fill it up, and crack a cold one to toast a task complete. However, there are accessories that will reward you. For example, a water pump, built-in strainer, and filter. You’ll also need a net and perhaps some chemicals.
4. Algae Buildup
Any water source has the potential to grow algae, especially one that is stagnant and warm. You have a few options to keep algae at bay. One is to drain and refill your stock tank often. It’s not the most environmentally-friendly option unless you’re using the water to douse nearby plants and trees.
Another option is to use chlorine. Start by testing your water. Some systems already have a good bit of chlorine in the water. Even more important, keep a measure of your pH level, which makes chlorine more effective.
Any option you choose should include a pump and filter. The pump will move the water around, directing debris into filters. It also pushes water through the filter system where it gets cleaned and spit back into the pool. Replace your filter at least once a month and remove it for cleaning weekly. If you don’t want to deal with a filter, install a sand filter instead. Just remember to maintain it too.
5. Water That's Too Cold or Too Hot
A stock tank pool is no different than any other pool in this respect. It will cool overnight (although more so than vinyl pools since it’s made of metal) and will heat up during the day. The climate in your area will determine the extremes. To protect the water from being too cold, you could DIY a propane on-demand heating system. If the surface is too hot in the direct sunlight, hang a sail or place a large patio umbrella in the area. You could even build a pergola or other covering.
6. Burning Hot Metal Edges
In addition to water temperature, your stock tank will show you it’s temper on hot days. While splashing the sides with cold water is likely enough to keep the edges from burning anyone, you can also cover them with inexpensive foam insulation or swim noodles cut down one side and wrapped over the edge.
Metal rusts. However, you can minimize rusting by using a skimmer to hold chemicals. Tossing chlorine tablets directly onto the surface of the metal is a no go. Instead, place them in a skimmer that is made to float on the surface of the water, slowly releasing the chemicals as they dissolve.
Also, properly store your stock tank in the off-season to extend its useful life. Place the tank in a covered area, barn, or shed. If you don’t have storage space, flip it over and cover it with a tarp. Another option is to simply DIY a pool cover you can use year round.