A Bit of Background

At time of writing, it’s almost two years since I broke ground on my DIY Hot Tub Build. Two years on, the family and I still love it. We still use it 3-4 times a week and it was a great project to undertake.

If you have read this blog before the whole idea of it was to put all of my new found knowledge into one place. I didn’t know anything about this subject matter two years ago!

Now, I’ve just discovered that there is a type of DIY Hot Tub that I had not heard of before – Stock Tank Hot Tubs. Therefore, I thought I would do some investigating and see if I can draw up some pros and cons and conclude if it is a good idea or not.

What is a Stock Tank Hot Tub?

Photo: Youtube / HomemadeModern

Let’s start with the Stock Tank. What is one of these? According to Wikipedia, “A stock tank is used to provide drinking water for animals such as cattle or horses. Stock tanks can range in size from 100 L to over 5500 L and typically are made of galvanized steel. These tanks are filled either by a pump, windpump, creek, spring, or even rely on runoff water from rain or melting snow.”

OK, so now we know what one of these is. It’s a big steel vessel that can be filled with water.

Given that it is designed to hold water, no wonder people are converting these into Hot Tubs.

Here is What you need to build a Stock Tank Hot Tub

What are the Drawbacks of Stock Tank Hot Tubs and Pools?

Affectionately known as “hillbilly hot tubs” these tubs can certainly be affordable and it is easy to see why I am sure they will be once again very popular this summer.

However, there are a few drawbacks.

Slime and Algae

This is of course the general problem with standing water. It is going to develop slime, algae along with lots of other bacteria. Yes, it is possible to combat this with chemicals, but as the water is standing, it makes life a lot harder.

Lack of Filtration

Filters are part of what keep our Pools and Hot Tubs looking clean, clear and inviting. They remove debris from the water. With the lack of filtration in a Stock Tub Hot Tub you are going to get a build up of debris. You are going to have to try and work a lot harder with the chemicals to keep that water clean, clear and most importantly safe.

Needs lots of Chemicals

As we have mentioned above, there is not filtration. Yes, you can do this manually with a net to get the larger particles out of the tub, but you are going to need a lot of chemicals to keep the water clean, clear and safe.

What about Rust?

Rust is going to be a problem so you are not for example going to want to drop your Chlorine tablets directly into the tub. There is no skimmer to put them in so you will need a floating device. Rust is going to be a problem and the amount of chemicals you are going to be adding to the tub is going to speed this process up.

Standing Water = Mosquitos

I guess it is inevitable. Depending of course which part of the country you are in, your standing water in the Stock Tank Hot Tub is going to attract insects and mosquitos. If, like me, you are not so affected by bites it is not a problem. My wife on the other hand, this would be a non-starter for her as she reacts so badly.

Takes Forever to heat as need a Fire first!

It is not going to be the most convenient of ventures. You need to build a fire, let it heat up before you can then heat the water. The idea of going for a “quick dip” isn’t really going to work.


I am sure that this is very much a personal preference thing, but they don’t look the comfiest. Surely, the whole idea of a Hot Tub is being able to kick back, relax, have a glass of something and let the woes of the world pass you by. Can you do this by being almost bolt upright in a Stock Tank? Not sure – I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Jets and Bubbles?

One of the big lures of the Hot Tub is the bubbles and jets that spray water around the tub creating a relaxing atmosphere. One could therefore argue, that a stock tank hot tub, without “jets and bubbles” is really just an outside bath! Yes it is possible I am sure to plumb in jets, heaters, filters and everything else. If you are going to go that far you might as well build you own in the same way I did. If you have the skills to plumb in a stock tank, you have the skills to build something a little more substantial.

What is the Alternative to a Stock Tank Hot Tub or Pool?

Build your own Hot Tub

Build your own Hot Tub

The alternative is a Concrete Block or Cinder Block pool, like the one that I have made. It will take you a little longer to build. It will cost a little more to make. It will also cost a little more to run. But, what you end up with a a PERFECT Hot Tub that rivals and arguably trumps the plastic shell type, or indeed the inflatable Hot Tubs that are available on the market.

If you are wondering how to build one, a full set of instructions can be found here. Happy Tubbing!

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