Stock Tank Pool

AKA hillbilly hot tub. Yes I went for it. I was sitting in my backyard, sweating in the sweltering Denver DRY summer heat taking a little scroll through instagram and a sponsored post for the Hey Wanderer blog popped up on my feed. They had a video "how to" of setting up a stock tank pool. What was this and why had I not heard of it?

I have lived in Denver for 2 years and I ask everyone I meet (legit everyone) WHERE DO YOU COOL OFF IN THE SUMMER IN DENVER? I’m used to being on the east or west coast and know where to find the water. A lot of people answer with, apartment pools….I don’t really know a lot of people with apartments that have pools and no offense, but apartment pools aren’t really my jam, public pools in general if we’re being honest. My family just put in the most lust worthy pool a few years ago (just in time for my move across the country to California) and when I’m there I never leave the resort feeling pool since I stay in their pool cabana guest house any time I am back East I'll admit I'm a bit spoiled when it comes to pools. Basically everyones answer to my question was apartment pools or that you cool off "in the winter"! This was not acceptable to me and I was now on the mission to create this stock tank pool. 

I am going to describe my ENTIRE process below so that you know ALL and I mean ALL that goes into this project. You can juts get a stock tank and fill it with water, but it will get gross with the water sitting so the process for getting the water moving and with a filter is described below. It's definitely doable, (I am not a super "handygal" kind of gal) I was able to do it, but it was more work than I'd actually be interested in (because I messed up a couple of times, learn from my mistakes!) and I definitely ended up recruiting help to finish this project. Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! 

Let me preface this list of supplies by saying that the Intex above ground pool filter system does NOT come with all of the parts you need to connect the filter to your pool set up, not even close, I had to order part after part on amazon because you can't find the parts anywhere in a store. I am listing every single thing you could possibly need because I was stuck waiting for pieces only to realize it was STILL missing ANOTHER piece. 

Your list of supplies: 

  • Stock Tank: They have anywhere from 6’-10’ I did 8’ for my yard (measure your space first) 
  • Straps to secure your stock tank during transport (need a truck or trailer+moving blankets) 
  • Intex krystal clear sand filter 
  • Sand (per this blog I used play sand it was $5 for 50 pounds at Ace, hoping it will work)
  • 2 plunger valves*
  • 2 strainer nuts*
  • 2 rubber washers*
  • 2 threaded strainer connectors*
  • Strainer grid*
  • Extra washers
  • Drill
  • Holesaw drill attachment with arbor (Measure your parts, but the ones I link here require 2  5/8")
  • Safety goggles (for drilling you definitely need some kind of protective eyewear) 
  • Waterproof/ weatherproof Silicone
    *All comes with this package linked by amazon below (intex 1.5 inch above ground pool inlet and outlet fittings) 


Bonus Items: 

  • Water test kit
  • Floating pool dispenser +
  • Chlorine tablets (I hate chlorine and haven't used this yet, hoping the sand filter will do the trick, but will update after a summer of use) 
  • Mini Pool skimmer-definitely necessary 
  • Extension cord-the cord for the pool filter is super long I didn't end up needing an extension cord, but depends how far your pool is from an outlet-also check the voltage required for your pool filter. 
  • 10' Intex pool cover (I bought the 8' pool cover for my 8' pool, but the diameter of the actual cover is like 7'2" the 10' cover works because it's 9' something. Intex is the actual worst...haha)
  • Shallow bucket for feet rinsing-I bought a tin beverage bucket from Target and we dip our feet in before we get in to prevent extra dirt and debris from getting in. 
  • Pool floatie- there is room for 1 float to fit in the pool and it's fun to float around 
  • Noodle-I grabbed one at Wal-Mart for $2 while I tried (and failed) to find some intex pool parts

  1. Measure your space and draw a chalk outline or use tape to lay out the diameter of the pool you plan on getting, also factor in winter drainage and storage and proximity to an outlet for the pool filter. 
  2. Source your tank…. and all of your other supplies. I was on a MISSION to get this pool done I gave myself a week and planned a lavish pool party upon completion (didn’t happen). I called the local tractor supply store, drove 20 mins in my friend’s gas guzzling truck only for them to actually not have it in stock. I called around to a bunch of other tractor supply stores, no one had it, great I will just order it online. The freight shipping was more expensive than the tank itself, nope that was out. I quickly googled 'stock tank denver' and found a local farm supply store that had stock tanks in stock AND was about a mile down the road from where I picked up my friend’s truck originally (insert upside down smiley face) I was worried about being judged and thankfully the people there knew I was clearly getting a new pool (I was the only one on the premises without denim and cowboy boots on and was wearing teekis and a fellow customer asked me where he could get some “BRITCHES” like that….). I brought straps to somehow strap it down to the truck, but my straps ended up not working and the employees there maneuvered it and strapped it down for me. And you will want moving blankets if you are placing on a truck bed, just in case.  


  1. Find a level surface for your tank. To make sure it’s level, place a piece of plywood across the tank and place a level on top. Thankfully any way I moved the wood it was level all the way across. If it is not level all the water can fall to one side and might cause leaking (especially if it’s the side the pool pump is on).
  2.  Measure for holes and drill. SAVE YOURSELF make sure the measure the pool inlet and outlet INCLUDING THE THREADS that go beyond the diameter of the opening. I read in the other blogs about problems with holes and was thinking, "That won’t be me. I will triple check my measurements." Well I measured the diameter of the hole and it turned out the threads got wider and were wider than what I measured soooooo gave myself the gift of many more trips to Ace hardware and the challenge of re-drilling and maneuvering Drill holes ( measure for holes) I got a 2 5/8" drill attachment and THAT was the perfect size after trying 2 1/4" NOPE X and 2 1/2"no no no XXX.
  3.  Cut 2 holes in your stock tank that are 2-3 feet apart. ***MAKE SURE you don't cut the hole on a part of the tub that is curved or has a bit of a dip in (you want the flattest flat surface) this will help prevent leakage and make the seal tight. 
  4. Stick the input through one of the holes and the strainer in the other hole both with the washer/gasket between them and the inside of the pool.  (The threads will be outside of the pool where you screw the attachments and hoses) 
  5. Grease the threads and screw on the strainer nut to tighten the connection as tight as you can. 
  6. With gloves and a disposable tool (like a chopstick) spread the weatherproof sealant or plumber's putty around the hardware inside the pool to seal the connection and prevent leaks. Let this dry and apply a second coat. 
  7. Once the sealant is double coated and dry connect the other pieces according to the instructions included with the Intex sand filter system. 
  8. Fill the pool and test for leaks, only fill above the first hole and see if you have any leakage. If everything is dry fill your pool up. Leaks can be resolved with plumber's tape, epoxy and more sealant around the outside connection. 
  9. Turn your filter on according to instructions and keep your pool pumping all summer long. Drain at the end of the season and store for next year. 

This is my results from following a combination of Hey Wanderer blog (with how to video) and the embracing motherhood blog who Ironically linked the stock yard I ended up getting my tank from in Denver, hey CO girl! 

For those interested I decked out the rest of my backyard with: 

  • Weather/Fade proof outdoor rug from Target
  • Poufs and pillow from Cost Plus World Market 
  • Candle holders from Target 
  • The table is from an Asian imports store it was a day bed meant to be used now as a coffee table it was a great find and super unique. 
  • The umbrellas were given away at a festival during their yoga session 
  • The chaise lounge was a craigslist find and I covered it with a weatherproof tablecloth from Target