Summer is finally here and boy is it hot! Perfect swimming weather! I have been dreaming of having our own pool for a very long time and we finally made it happen. We settled on a galvanized stock tank pool: the size is perfect for the kids and we could afford the price tag! My husband and I decided to make a DIY salt water stock tank pool (a stock tank pool idea that has not been attempted often) and see for ourselves if a salt water system would work just fine or rust a stock tank quickly.
I have only found a couple of people online who attempted the salt water stock tank pool. However, I could not find any reports back on how it worked out long term. Maybe that is a bad sign!?
Why did we go with a salt water filter you may ask? Let me walk you through my pros and cons I found while researching online (please note that I am not an expert, this is just what I found online):
- Salt water pools still have chlorine, however I have read that the amount of chlorine is much lower than a regular chlorine pool (which may by gentler on the eyes and skin)
- You do not need to handle or store unsafe chemicals to maintain your pool, which small children might get into
- The salt may rust this type of pool faster than traditional chlorine
- A salt water filter is a larger upfront investment
I am writing this post during our pools first season. So far we have had no issues, but I will keep this post updated as the years go on.
Oh and let me tell you, this pool is a HUGE hit with my kids. They go in almost everyday and have sooo much fun!
Let me walk you through how we installed this stock tank pool with a salt water system.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting me.
Step 1 – Where to buy a stock tank
Finding a stock tank is no easy feat! It took me a few months on a couple of waitlists to finally get my hands on one. We got ours from our local feed and hay supply store and had it delivered to our home. We have a Behlen brand tank that is 8 feet around. This one is 20 gauge. The lower the gauge the stronger the tank will be. I was warned by my local store that stock tanks in general are no longer made to last like they used to be, but ours seems great so far!
Places to look for a stock tank:
- Your local hay and feed store (this will most likely be the most cost effective option)
- Tractor Supply
- h2o_tankavenue – Serves California, Phoenix, & Vegas and sell a variety of shapes and sizes including the 10ft stock tank
- stocktankpoolauthority – Serves Texas & Tennessee and sell 8, 9, and 10ft stock tanks
- Stock Tank House – Serve most of Florida and sell 8, 9, and 10ft stock tanks
- Behlen Dealers – You might be able to find more dealers near you using this dealer locator
- Hasting Dealers – You might be able to find more dealers near you using this dealer locator
- Stocktankpool.net – Not a dealer, but a good resource on all things stock tanks. They sell their own pool parts and accessories as well.
Once you find a good place to put your tank (stocktankpool.net gives good tips on this), you will need to drill two holes in your tank for your pump with a 70mm hole saw (this size is very important based on the parts we used). We placed the inlet hole near the bottom and the outlet hole near the top.
Mark each hole with your hole saw blade and a pencil and drill each hole. Be sure to wear eye and ear protection. Our blade was cheap so it dulled on the second hole. We used a metal hand file to smooth out each hole afterwards.
There were tiny pieces of metal after drilling, so we used our shop vac to clean up all the metal pieces inside and outside of the tank.
- Ear and eye protection
- Power drill
- 70 mm Hole Saw (cheap and will only be good for this one time use)
- Metal hand file
- Shop vacuum
Attach the pump parts (see the pictures below for exactly which parts you need and how we attached them) and check for leaks. Spraying water directly onto the parts will tell you if you have a large leak but you will need to fill the tank up to the lower inlet to really check. Since our tank has those ribbed lines we had leaks.
We took off the pump parts and used FLEX tape around both sides of the holes. We put the pool pump parts back on and sealed them with silicone. This silicone was not supposed to be used on galvanized steel, so with the tape it worked well.
We let this cure for 24 hours based on the silicone instructions.
Note: Before we filled up the pool, we attached a hose bib to the drainage hole so we can attach a hose and drain our pool away from our patio. Use a 3/4″ socket wrench to remove the existing drainage plug. Replace with a 3/4″ hose bib (no kink). Make sure you use thread sealing tape to prevent leaks.
- Inlet & Outlet pool parts:
- Intex 26005E (description is correct but the photo is not)
- Intex Large Pool Plunger Valve (we purchased this since the 26005E kit did not come with 2)
- Intex Replacement Hose Adapter (we purchased this to convert from a threaded connection to our 1.25″ clamp style hoses)
- FLEX Tape (4″ is important to cover the hole)
- Clear silicone (we felt this was a safer product to use in a pool, but always read all product information and decide for yourself)
- 3/4″ socket wrench
- 3/4″ no kink hose bibb (no kink is important because the pool outlet is low to the ground)
- Thread sealing tape
Fill up the pool, check again for leaks. We did not have leaks so we were good to move on to the next step!
Add the salt based on how much water is in your pool. Our 8 foot stock tank pool has about 620 gallons which came out to 15.5 pounds of salt. We used a basic scale to pour in the salt until the bag weighed the original amount minus what we needed to use. You should review the instructions that came with your salt water system to determine how much salt you will need!
We waited 24 hours for the salt to dissolve per the instructions.
- Bag of pool salt
Connect your pump and salt water system completely. Then, run the boost cycle. For our pool, our daily run time is 1 hour, so our boost is 8×1 = 8 hours.
There will be some sediment left over after the 8 hours from the minerals in your city water. We used a spa hand held vacuum to remove it.
The instructions then say to add cyanuric acid which stabilizes the chlorine so it won’t break down with UV. We have decided to do this experiment without it for now.
- Intex Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 1000 GPH Pump Flow Rate, 110-120V with GFCI
- Intex – 120V Krystal Clear Saltwater System CG-26669 (We purchased the up to 15,000 gallon model since that was the only one available at the time. We should have gone with the smaller 7000 gallon model. I paid around $200. These are links to the 7000 gallon model. (Intex, Walmart, Amazon)
- Power spa vacuum
Everyday, we run our filter for 1 hour. This is a manual process for us. Our salt water system came with test strips. We use these strips to check the PH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and free chlorine once a week.
That is it! Go enjoy your DIY salt water stock tank pool!
- Solar cover (Keeps the pool warm, it really does a great job! Not a true cover for safety.)
- Unicorn Floaties (Big kid, Baby)
- White IKEA chairs
- Hand skimmer
I am still pondering how to cover the pool so that it is extra safe. For now, we use our SimpliSafe alarm for our backdoor and we lock the gate to the pool.
If you liked this DIY salt water stock tank pool idea, you may also like:
Disclaimer: NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN UNATTENDED IN A POOL. Pools present a drowning risk, no matter their size or depth. Learn more about pool safety and drowning prevention. You assume all responsibility for your stock tank pool. By using this site, you agree to hold diyimhome.com harmless from any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from general use. The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by diyimhome.com and while we strive to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the safety, completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
Hi there! After a summer, how did the tank hold up with the salt water filter? Do you still recommend? Thanks!
Thank you for asking, I have been meaning to do an update after one season so thanks for the reminder! After one season our tank has held up well. Our tank did not have any rust at the end of the first season. In our research we found that all stock tanks will rust eventually. We are expecting this and will repair it as soon as we see any. Regardless of a salt water filter or not it will rust unfortunately. The salt water filter held up great throughout the first season too and we are planning to keep using the same one next year. My kids loved this pool, it was really fun for them. I hope this helps!