DIY Salt Water Stock Tank Pool Idea

DIY salt water stock tank pool idea

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
  • – Not a dealer, but a good resource on all things stock tanks. They sell their own pool parts and accessories as well.

Step 2

Once you find a good place to put your tank ( 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.


Step 3

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.


Step 4

Fill up the pool, check again for leaks. We did not have leaks so we were good to move on to the next step!

Step 5

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.


Step 6

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.

DIY salt water stock tank pool idea


Step 7

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!


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.

  • DIY salt water stock tank pool idea
  • DIY salt water stock tank pool idea
  • diy salt water stock tank pool idea
  • diy salt water stock tank pool idea
  • diy salt water stock tank pool idea
  • diy salt water stock tank pool idea
  • diy salt water stock tank pool idea

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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 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 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.


  1. Hi there! After a summer, how did the tank hold up with the salt water filter? Do you still recommend? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kate!

      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!

  2. Now it’s 2023 how is the pool doing? I’ve been reading if we use a liner it will protect a lot more while we are going salt not chlorine

    1. The pool is still holding up nicely. We spilled some salt in the bottom over winter storing it and had to wire brush the rust and paint over it with a rust covering paint. That worked well. Our salt water system failed due to leaving it out in harsh weather we think. We are just using chlorine now as we didn’t want to buy a new salt water system. Let me know how the liner works for you!

    1. Hi,

      We were storing salt in the tank over winter and some spilled and rusted the bottom a bit. We wire brushed the rust off and painted over it with some paint for covering up rust. The salt water system failed because we left it out in the sun we think. We have harsh weather. We now use traditional chlorine as we didn’t want to buy another salt water system.

  3. Hi,
    We followed this article to the T and are almost done setting up our stock tank pool. I had a couple of questions:
    1. When you were waiting for 24 hours for the salt to dissolve, did you turn on the filter pump or the salt water system at all?
    2. When you run the filter for 1 hour everyday, do you also run the salt water system with it?

    1. 1. I believe we just let the salt sit for the 24 hours.
      2. Yes, we ran the filter and salt water system together. Our salt water system had a timer and would turn itself off. We had to manually turn off the filter some time after the salt water system turned off.

      Just keep an eye on the pool and use your testing strips. Good luck and enjoy!

      1. Thank you so much for the prompt response.

        After the 24 hours wait period for the salt to dissolve, did you run a boost cycle and for how long?
        What is your daily pump and salt water system runtime and schedule?
        We bought the same filter pump and salt water system you linked here.

      2. The purpose of the boost is to add extra chlorine like if it was really dirty. It wouldn’t hurt to do the boost cycle after the 24 hrs. Just make sure you use the tester strips to make sure you don’t have too little or too much chlorine.

        We ran the salt water system and pump for an hr a day on average but we still tested with the strips to make the chlorine levels were in range. We had to manually go out and turn off the pump. The salt water system turned off with the timer.

        The key is testing the water and adjusting your time based on that. If chlorine is low, you would run the systems for maybe two hours the next day….

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