Minecraft: Here’s How To Breathe Underwater Without Potions

How to Breathe Underwater in Minecraft Without Potions

Exploring Minecraft’s watery depths can be a daunting task. There are lots of treasures to be had but at the same time, a lot of risks are involved as well. The burning question when it comes to underwater exploration was and still is, the fact of breathing under the water’s surface. Before the update 1.13 which was adequately dubbed update aquatic we could breathe underwater by utilizing potions and enchantments, this changed and now we have so many more options at our disposal. If you’re bothered by alchemical recipes and don’t consider collecting ingredients worth the effort, this guide will be perfect for you. Let’s see how to breathe underwater in Minecraft without the use of potions.

  • Article Breakdown:
  • You can breathe underwater in Minecraft with the use of enchantments, conduits, air bubbles, turtle helmets, and airlocks.
  • None of these approaches to water-breathing requires potions although I always recommend you carry at least a few when undergoing underwater expeditions in case things become dangerous fast without a safe way to extract yourself from the water.

You can breathe in Minecraft underwater with the use of enchantments

Enchantments are used to improve your chances against pretty much anything that Minecraft can throw your way and water-breathing is no different. The enchantment in question is called Respiration, it comes in three levels with each level adding an additional 15 seconds of water breathing. There’s a catch however, it can only be applied to helmets. If you decide to use commands it can be applied to other gear as well.

respiration enchantment
Respiration enchantment level 3

Respiration enchantment does not make you immune to drowning, it will only allow you to breathe underwater for 15 seconds (per level) and after that time has run out you will still suffer the adverse effects. With the maximum level of respiration enchantment on your helmet, you can breathe underwater for 60 seconds (including your standard base time before you start drowning).


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You can avoid drowning by equipping Turtle Shell Helmet

Turtle Shell Helmet is an excellent headgear that allows you to breathe underwater without the use of potions. You can craft a turtle shell helmet by combining 5x scutes at the crafting table in the pattern that can be seen below.

turtle shell helmet
Crafting Turtle shell helmet requires 5x scutes

Turtle shell helmet will provide you with an additional 10 seconds of water breathing which will be recharged as soon as you dive above the surface again. If the effect expires however while you’re underwater you will drown as the shell’s effect does not make you immune to it.

turtle shell helmet equiped

You can create air pockets with doors that will provide you with an infinite supply of air underwater

Our next solution to the water-breathing problem can be done only on the Minecraft Java edition as it involves abusing the game mechanics.
You can create a pocket of air underwater by placing doors, fence gates, and banners underwater.

Door air pocket
Air pockets created with doors provide you with an infinite supply of air

This is not a permanent solution by any means as it requires you to stand in the mentioned air pockets to be able to breathe, but it does allow you to recharge both your enchantments and your turtle shell helmet as long as you’re near it. For best results place single doors in the general underwater area that you are exploring to conveniently catch some air wherever you need it.

Create bubble columns underwater

Bubble columns can be generated underwater at the places where magma meets water. Those bubble columns provide the player with air and recharge your air supply as well. What makes them even more convenient is the fact that you can spawn them as well by placing a block of Soul Sand underwater. Soul Sand can be found in hoglin stables, bastion remnants, Soul Sand valleys, and ancient cities. The quickest way to “harvest” Soul Sand is to use a shovel.

Bubble columns
Bubble columns can either be created by the player or generated throughout the world

You should be careful however while using them with magma nearby as they can produce a powerful current that can “suck you” in the direction of magma resulting in your premature and unplanned death.


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Utilize conduits to gain both underwater breathing haste and underwater vision

Conduits were introduced with the aforementioned update 1.13. They are extremely difficult to set up but once you’ve managed to do that all your exploration needs will be met. Activated conduit provides you with “Conduit power” that grants you several beneficial effects while underwater. It can be used to restore oxygen, give underwater night vision, and increase your mining speed by 16.7%. Conduits will also detect and attack all hostile mobs that find themselves in the Conduit’s range.

Crafting conduit

This sounds generally awesome however, they are not easy to craft or activate. To craft a conduit you will need 8x nautilus shells and 1x Heart of the Sea. Nautilus shells are easier of the two ingredients when it comes to acquiring them as they can be obtained as a treasure item from fishing, purchased from Wandering traders, or simply looted from mobs. Heart of the Sea however can only be found in the treasure chests while you’re exploring underwater ruins and various other places of interest.

Once you’ve crafted the conduit it will remain inactive. To activate it you will need need to create an activation frame for it. The frame is built out of blocks in three 5×5 open squares centered on the conduit. Only prismarine, dark prismarine, prismarine bricks, and sea lanterns can be used as blocks. The frame itself needs to be enclosed in the center of a 3×3×3 volume of water.


And this is pretty much everything there is to know about breathing in Minecraft without relying on potions. As you can see your best bet is to create a conduit but that requires much effort and relatively rare materials. Your next best pick should be either doors or bubble columns. With enchantments and turtle shell helmets are an absolute must as those are the only items that allow you to move without losing the ability to breathe underwater.

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