Let’s cut to the chase and show you exactly how we built our in-ground stock tank pool. I’ll try to save you all of the fluff on how awesome it is and how happy it makes us every day. The 8ft by 2ft stock tank pool is plenty big for 4 large adults to enjoy at the same time. Add in some Palm Springs style floaties to create a Pinterest-worthy setting. Use the heating process outlined below to keep it at perfect pool temperatures or crank it up for some hot tub fun!
Below is an outline of the steps we took while completing our in-ground stock tank pool and hot tub. Don’t get overwhelmed. We had never done anything like this before either. Take it one step at a time. It is so worth it once it’s done.
- Order all of the tools and parts first (links provided in ‘What to Purchase’ section below these steps. The products we used are also linked throughout the below step by step).
- Purchase a stock tank and pick it up. We got our 8 ft tank from a local Tractor Supply store and picked it up with a Uhaul 20′ truck (which Lacey drove; she is very proud of that). D&B Supply stores also carry stock tanks.
- Place the pool on your yard where you want it to eventually be in-ground and dig an outline around your pool. Put some thought into where you’re putting it as you will be trenching out the electricity to your pool pump as well as the hot water input/output hoses/tubing. Your water heater needs to be mounted on a stable structure (fence or house). I would recommend keeping your pool within 15-20 ft of where you will be mounting your water heater to make sure the pump flow rate will be strong enough to run your heater.
- Move the stock tank and start digging within the outline you just made. Be careful as there could be sprinkler lines or other important utility lines underground.
- Dig, dig, dig until you have completed the hole with the depth of around 20-22 inches. The exact depth you want will depend on the height of the pavers or whatever else you will be bordering the pool.
We were lucky and had plenty of room along the back of our fence to dump dirt. Wear gloves to avoid blisters! You’ll thank me later.
- If you run into sprinkler lines, like we did, you’ll need to re-route them to be on the outside of your hole. I purchased some sprinker pipe and push and click coupling from Home Depot to make this as easy as possible. Sprinkler pipe size varies.
- From the area of your hole that is closest to the wall/fence you will be mounting your water heater and hot water pump on, dig a 2 1/2 ft x 2 1/2 ft square that connects to your circle. Make this about 20 inches deep as well. This is where your pool pump is going to go and where you will access your pump connections attached to your pool.
- Dig an underground trench leading out from your pump box to the wall/fence where you will be mounting your water heater, hot water pump, and where your electricity will connect. Insert some flexy drain pipe in the trench and pull through an extension cord (for your pool pump) and the hoses/tubes for your hot water input/outputs. MARK your black tubing so you know which line is going to be the input line and which is the output. Bury the flexy drain pipe and patch up any grass that got damaged.
- Drill 4 holes in your stock tank within a 2ft square section (2 holes for your pool pump and 2 for your hot water input/outputs). One 2-3/4″ hole on the top left of your 2ft section, and another 2-3/4″ on the bottom right. One 7/8″ hole on the top right and one 7/8″ on the bottom left. Make sure there are a few inches of clearance around the holes as you will need room to screw on the pump plunger valves and the hot water input/outputs.
I would recommend including the stock tank drain plug (comes built in to the stock tank) within this 2 ft section so you can seal and monitor for leaks there as well.
- Connect your pool pump input/outputs as well as your hot water input/outputs. For the hot water input/outputs, the larger pieces will be on the outside of the pool. Don’t connect any hoses yet! That will come later after placing the pool in the hole. Seal/caulk thoroughly around your connectors and also the stock tank’s built in drain plug. Let this dry for at least 24 hrs in 70 degree+ temperatures.
- Tamp (pack down), lay paver base, and level the entire inside of the hole and any bordering area where you might be laying pavers.
A basic approach to leveling is to lay a few 1 inch thick pieces of wood across the ground (the length of your hole) and make them level with each other. These will be your leveling guides. Start at one side of the hole and start pouring paver base on top of your leveling guides. Take another piece of wood and lay it on top, perpendicular to your leveling guides. Start pulling back the paver base with this piece of wood (2nd pic below). Add more paver base to low spots and keep pulling the paver base back until the entire area is level. Then remove your leveling guides and gently fill in their tracks with paver base. Sprinkle some hose water on top and you should have your level foundation for the stock tank!
- Drop the stock tank in the hole with the connectors being lined up inside the pump box you dug. Back fill in any gaps around your pool with dirt.
- Build a frame for your pump box. I used some scrap 2 x 4’s I had in the garage along with some old fencing planks to use for the walls of the box. I fashioned a lid from some beat up white fence planks my mom had left over. We also stuffed in a rubber maid container for the pump to sit on. It helps keep dirt away from the pump.
- Connect your pool pump hoses to the input/outputs you installed. These are the large grey hoses shown above. Next, you will need to connect the hose fittings you purchased to the hot water carrying black hoses/tubing you also purchased. Once you have done that, connect the black hoses to the input/outputs you installed. You can also see that the hot water input (bottom left black hose) has a filter connected to it. That is recommended to help avoid any large pieces of debris from being sucked into your water heater.
- Mount the water heater and pump to your wall or fence. This should be placed right above where you trenched out the electricity and hot water input/output hoses. Do not plug in the mounted pump unless you are ready to use it. It turns on automatically when plugged in.
- Connect the black tubing to your water heater. Your input line will connect to the mounted pump then from the pump to the water heater. Your output line will connect directly from the water heater to your output nozzle on your stock tank. Then connect your 20 lb liquid propane tank (according to the instructions that came with you water heater. Read the instructions carefully. Spray some soapy water around your propane connections after opening to identify any leaks.
- If you’re bordering your in-ground stock tank pool/hot tub with pavers: Lay weed barrier around the perimeter of your pool. Lay paver base on top of the weed barrier and level it. Start laying your pavers while also placing and anchoring your paver edging up against the back row of pavers . We laid 4 rows of these pavers (225 of them) from Home Depot. We used about 7 buckets of Perma Sand to fill in the joints. Then we sprinkled some EZ Seed around the pavers to get some pretty grass growing back around the pavers. It took about 4 weeks for new grass to fill in.
- Slowly start filling up your pool. Check for leaks at every check point along the way. If you sealed everything properly with this stuff, you should be good to go.
If you’re good on leaks, fill it all the way up. Make sure the water goes above your output connections. Plug in your pool pump, make sure it’s connected correctly according to the instructions it came with. Turn it on and watch it work! There is a timer option on this pump. We have ours set to run for 2hrs every day.
If you have fully read and understood the water heater instructions, give that a whirl too. As long is it is connected properly, all you will need to do to turn it on is to open the propane gas tank and plug in the mounted pump. The water coming in from the pump will turn on the water heater and hot water will start pushing back out to your In-ground stock tank pool through the top output connection. So cool!
- Grab 2 chlorine tablets, drop ’em in your chlorine floatie and throw it in the pool. Add 2 more tablets anytime these run out. They last about a week. Drop in your pool thermometer and you’re good to go.
What to Purchase
Before putting a shovel in the ground, hop online and order all of your supplies. Below is the list of what we ordered. It was nice ordering everything from Amazon for quicker/cheaper shipping and also so we could manage all of our orders in one spot.
Items needed to build your In-Ground Stock Tank Pool and Hot Tub
Nupla RP2L-E 2 Ergo Power Round Point Shovel, Hollow Back Blade, Ergo Grip, 16 Gauge, 48″ Long Handle
You’ll obviously need a shovel.
True Temper 6 cu. ft. Steel Wheelbarrow with Steel Handles and Flat Free Tire
You’ll need a way to move your dirt!
AMES 2233400 9-Pound Steel Tamper with Hardwood Handle, 48-Inch
Critical tool to help level the underground surface where your pool will be placed.
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill / Driver, 3/8-Inch (LDX120C)
Power drill to make your input/output holes in the stock tank.
LENOX Tools Hole Saw, Bi-Metal, Speed Slot, Arbored, 7/8-Inch (1772429)
Drill bit for the hot water input/output holes in the stock tank.
MK Morse MHSA44C Hole Saw with Attached Arbor, 2-3/4″ Diameter
Drill bit for the primary pool pump input/output holes in the stock tank.
Performance Tool W30991 Black & Red Slotted Screwdriver, 5/16″ x 6″
You will need a flat head screwdriver to connect the hose nozzle hardware (below) to the black tubing.
Hanobo 1/2″ Brass Garden Hose Repair Mender Male Female Connector Stainless Clamp (3 Set－6Pcs)
Hardware that will be connected to the black tubing (below) to connect to the hot water input/output (below tubing).
TotalPond Vinyl Tubing, 1/2-inch
Hose that will connect to your hot water input/outputs and will be running water to and from your water heater.
RAINPAL RBS005 Brass Water Container/Rain Barrel Quarter Turn Spigot(Lead Free Compliant)
Hot water input/outputs connected to your stock tank. The larger side will be on the outside of the tank.
You will need 2 of these.
3M Marine Adhesive/Sealant Fast Cure (White, 10 fl.oz)
Powerful sealant to go around all of your input/output connections to prevent leaks.
Newborn 102D Drip-Free Smooth Hex Rod Cradle Caulking Gun, 1/10 Gallon Cartridge, 10:1 Thrust Ratio
Caulk Gun to apply the sealant around your input/output connections.
Flex-Drain 51110 Flexible/Expandable Landscaping Drain Pipe, Solid, 4-Inch by 25-Feet
Drain pipe you’ll be putting in the trench you made to the electricity and hot water input/output black tubes from your pump box.
BESTTEN Outdoor Power Strip with 20-Foot Ultra Long Extension Cord, 3-Outlet Weatherproof Yard Power Stake with Protective Covers, ETL Certified, Green
You’ll need a multi-outlet extension cord to plug your pumps into (length required will vary depending on your setup).
Items Needed to Run/Clean/Heat your in-ground stock tank pool:
Intex 28635EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump for Above Ground Pools, 1500 GPH Pump Flow Rate, 110-120V with GFCI
Primary pool pump that will circulate and filter the water in your stock tank pool.
(Pack of 6) Intex 29000E/59900E Easy Set Pool Replacement Type A or C Filter Cartridge
Replacement filters for the Intex pump. Filters should be changed about every 6 weeks.
Intex Above Ground Plunger Valves with Gaskets & Nuts Replacement Part (2 Pack)
These will connect to the primary pool pump’s (Intex pump) input/output connectors and will allow you to prevent back flow to your pump while you change/clean the pump filter
(CURRENTLY SOLD OUT) Camplux 10L Outdoor 2.64 GPM Digital Display Portable Propane Gas Tankless Water Heater
Water Heater that will keep your stock tank toasty!
SEAFLO 33-Series Industrial Water Pressure Pump w/Power Plug for Wall Outlet – 115VAC, 3.3 GPM, 45 PSI
Pump that will be bringing water from the stock tank to the heater, then back to the stock tank.
LOVHO Sediment Filter Attachment Garden Hose Pressure Washer Outdoor Gardening Inlet Water (40 Mesh Screen)
Connect to your hot water input to prevent debris from pushing to your water heater.
Kem-Tek 177 1-Inch Chlorinating Tablets for Pool and Spa, 4-Pound
Chlorine to keep algae from growing in your pool. Roughly 2 tablets per week inside a chlorine floatie (see below) will do the trick.
HydroTools by Swimline Floating Mini Tablet Spa Chemical Dispenser
To properly distribute your chlorine.
Taylor K-1000 Basic Residential Pool & Spa Test Kit
Make sure you are putting the right amount of chlorine in your pool!
U.S. Pool Supply Economy Pool Leaf Skimmer Net with Adjustable 4 Foot Telescopic Pole
Pool Skimmer to scoop out large debris! You’ll need one of these for sure.
Fun Items to Have:
BigMouth Inc Pink Flamingo Pool Float, Inflates to Over 4ft. Wide, Funny Inflatable Vinyl Summer Pool or Beach Toy, Patch Kit Included
You’re not an official member of the Stock Tank Pool community without a Palm Springs style floatie. Ours is named ‘Carl’. What will you name yours?
Blibly Swimming Pool Lights Solar Floating Light with Multi-Color LED Waterproof Outdoor Garden Lights
This light is super cool for night time ambiance.
Items we purchased In-Person from Home Depot (specific to how we laid pavers around our pool)
- Pavers – we ordered 225 and had a handful left over
- Paver Edging – we ordered 5
- Edging Anchor Spikes – 3 bags
- Paver Joint Sand – we used 7
- Weed barrier
- Paver Base – 6 bags
- Grass Seed
I know this seems like a lot, but it’s definitely doable and soon the hard work will be behind you and you’ll be enjoying your brand new in-ground stock tank pool and hot tub!