Stock tank pools have been all the rage this summer, and it's easy to see why. The "hillbilly hot tubs," as they're affectionately called, are a fun, rustic throwback to good ol' country living. The galvanized metal tubs look good inside or out, and with a starting price of $50, they're pretty darn affordable, too. But as much as we love the trend, we kept getting questions from readers who were concerned about the cons of using stock tanks for swimming purposes. Thankfully, it turns out there are pretty simple solutions to all of the issues.
1. "How do you keep 'slime' from building up around the edges?"
That "slime" is actually algae, and as Pool Center points out, it can (and does) happen in any pool-even if you can't see it. Yes, "slime" is gross, and it can lead to other problems, like bacterial growth, slippery steps, and skin irritation, but it's totally preventable and treatable. You'll want to buy a pool net and regularly skim the surface, plus maybe even a pool vacuum to remove build-up from the bottom.
"We definitely recommend getting a small pump and filter or aerator," Brettan Hawkins, social media manager at Tractor Supply Company and seasoned stock tank DIYer, tells CountryLiving.com. "As they transfer and move the stock tank water, they keep the water from getting too hot, prevent algae and other buildup, and prevent mosquitoes from breeding. We sell transfer pumps and small aerators, or you can get a true pool filter from a pool store. A small aerator is also a good option if you want to avoid lots of chemicals ... If the water starts to get mucky for whatever reason, just drain and refill. Our stock tanks come with spigots for easy drainage."
2. "Won't they rust?"
Speaking of chemicals, they're to blame for this other issue: If you're using chlorine tablets, be sure to put them in a chlorine float rather than dropping directly into the metal pool to avoid corrosion and rust, Hawkins says. You can also seal the inside of the tank (Tractor Supply Company customers have applied Flex Seal) to prevent rusting.
3. "What about mosquitoes?"
As we all know, standing water can be breeding sites for mosquitoes. Again, a pump will keep the water moving, but if bugs are still, well, bugging you, Hawkins recommends installing mosquito netting around the tank or adding mosquito dunks (which are safe for use around humans and animals) to a chlorine float.
4. "Doesn't the pool get too hot?"
"If you're worried about the water getting too hot, you can create your stock tank pool in an area where there is some tree cover, or, use a 'sun sail' or cantilever umbrella, like many of our customers," Hawkins explains. "However, even our customers in Arizona, California, and Nevada who use our stock tanks for pools report that they don't get too hot to use."
Take this stock tank owner in Joshua Tree, whose pool sits in full sun all day. Remember, Hawkins says, "the metal conducts heat and cold, so the tank will cool down a lot overnight."
Still unsure about those metal edges? You can get a plastic version instead, or try this clever hack: Slice a pool noodle down the middle and wrap around the rim.
5. "Where do you store them during the winter?"
"Our tanks have coating to withstand harsh weather-after all, they are designed to be outside watering your animals year-round-but if your pool is free-standing, and not surrounded by any decking, you can flip over the tank in the off-season or store in a garage, shed, or barn," Hawkins says. Otherwise, drain and top with a tarp.
BUY NOW: 390 Gallon CountyLine Round Galvanized Stock Tank ($260; tractorsupply.com)
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