Minecraft Respiration Enchantment Guide: Benefits, Mods, and Special Tips!

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From modestly sized, flat terrain landscapes to gargantuan cliffs, most of the best Minecraft worlds require you to navigate– or even thrive– in large bodies of water. That’s why many players are so interested in a way to guide them underwater with the respiration enchantment.

Breathing underwater may not be the must-have skill that’s first on your list, but the community, creative as they are, gives fellow players more and more reasons to find easier and more efficient ways to make the most out of their time in lakes, rivers, and oceans.

One popular destination? Survival Islands in 2021 spawn unique seeds, villagers, and strongholds. That makes for loot, areas to explore, and mobs to interact with.

Some are situated in deep ocean tiles, while others, like a mushroom-shaped island, are nestled by ice. No matter what version you’re playing, all islands in Minecraft have something unique to offer, from regular to irregular-shaped islands.

But you can’t swim indefinitely in Minecraft, nor is a boat always available. But even if both or either were true, you’d still be missing out on fully exploring the water– and all it has to offer.

One trick: enchantments. Today I’ll guide you through the respiration enchantment, and how to use it, and even some additional ways you can breathe underwater in Minecraft if you’re not loving the results of the Respiration Enchantment.

How to Use the Respiration Enchantment

Minecraft Respiration

The Respiration Enchantment in Minecraft is a commonly used tactic to breathe underwater and is just one of the many Minecraft enchantments.

What does the Respiration Enchantment do?

The Respiration Enchantment enables players to stay underwater without diminishing their breath– but it also enhances your underwater vision as well, making it useful for underwater exploration– which explains why it’s one of the more popular methods for navigating underwater regions in Minecraft.

How do you use the Respiration Enchantment?

The Respiration Enchantment is interesting because you aren’t directly enchanting yourself as a player, but rather items you’re carrying with you in your inventory. Items that can be enchanted with Respiration include helmets, caps, and tortoise shells.

You can either craft a helmet or cap by collecting five necessary materials (iron for an iron helmet and so on) or finding a helmet or cap in chests or through fighting some mobs.


To enchant a helmet or cap, you’ll need to access an enchanting table (which can be crafted with a book, obsidian, and diamonds). From there, it’s fairly simple to enchant– simply place the item you wish to enchant in the first slot.

Wearing the Enchanted Helmet/ Cap

Once you’ve successfully enchanted a helmet or cap, you’ll need to actually be wearing the enchanted helmet to benefit from the Respiration Enchantment. To do so, move the newly enchanted helmet or cap into your inventory in the helmet slot. It must show your avatar wearing the helmet.

From there, you’ll be able to benefit from breathing underwater and also benefit from improved vision.


The only other way to access the Respiration Enchantment is through looting. Occasionally, the helmets you find, either through chests or by attacking mobs, you’ll come across an already enchanted helmet.

However, I certainly wouldn’t rely on this method. For one, helmets that you find, or helmets dropped by mobs, often are damaged. For another, not only may it take a while to find an enchanted helmet, but the probability of finding the specific enchantment you’re looking for, of course, is even more difficult.

In other words, keep your eye out, but if you want to start using the Respiration Enchantment soon, you’re better off using the Enchantment Table and enchanting a helmet or cap yourself.

What are the Respiration Enchantment Levels?

You’ll gain access to more enchantments, and higher levels, through gaining experience through the orbs system. Orbs drop primarily when you fight off mobs successfully. As you likely know, the higher the enchantment level, the more powerful, effective, and ultimately useful it is.

There are three enchantment levels, with Respiration 3 a good bet if you want to extend underwater breathing the most. Each enchantment level extends your ability to breathe underwater by 15 seconds.

You’ll enjoy an additional 45 seconds longer to breathe underwater at an enchantment level of three or the maximum possible enchantment level.

While it’s not a lot of time, that extra 45 seconds really can be helpful.

What other ways can you breathe underwater in Minecraft?

In Minecraft, you don’t naturally breathe for long periods of time underwater. In normal circumstances, you’ll drown after a relatively short period of time if you don’t surface. As is evident by all the things you can do underwater in Minecraft, that’s a true disadvantage.

The good news is that there are several other ways to enhance breathing underwater, aside from just the Respiration Enchantment– from potions to even some Minecraft mods.

Make a Water Breathing Potion

Minecraft Respiration

To make a water-breathing potion in Minecraft, you’ll need to gather quite a few ingredients first, but the results speak for themselves.

Potion’s Effect

The water breathing potion in Minecraft enables you to stay underwater for approximately ⅜ of a minute, or a little over twenty-two seconds, longer than your typical breathing capabilities. Obviously, this is not as long as Respiration Enchantment Level 3,

Gathering Materials

You’ll need the following: one pufferfish, blaze powder, nether wart, a water bottle, and a brewing stand.

Pufferfish as peaceful mobs which are, of course, found in the ocean, typically in clusters near the surface. However, upon impact, they can poison you. Many players prefer to use the Impaling Enchantment to obtain a pufferfish, though it is not mandatory.

Blaze powder is made simply by placing a rod on fire. Each rod will supply a quantity of two powders. Nether Wart, meanwhile, is a form of fungi that is located in The Nether. You can mine for it, but it is also found in or around strongholds, typically on Soul Sand.

Finally, brewing stands can be obtained by finding one and using a pickaxe or crafted with a blaze rod and 3 cobblestone or blackstone. Water bottles can be found or made using pieces of glass.

Making the Potion

To brew the water breathing potion, start by placing blaze powder in the left-hand slot of the brewing stand– this starts the stand running. Next, situate the water bottle in a bottom slot and the Nether Wart in the top slot. Bubbles should emit if you’ve succeeded. You’ll now have an “Awkward Potion,” which must be brewed with a pufferfish in the top slot.

How To Download Mods for Breathing Underwater

Minecraft Respiration

If you aren’t getting enough out of the Respiration Enchantment, the Breathing Potion, or just want an additional boost, there are also a few mods you can download for breathing underwater in Minecraft.

Before you download any mod for Minecraft, I recommend downloading Minecraft Forge and the mods created for it. This is a safer, more secure way to download that reduces your risks of corrupted files. Still, it’s the best policy to have anti-virus software to help.

Simple Diving Gear

This mod provides diving gear in Minecraft, which allows you to breathe underwater and swim efficiently– just note that you can’t use diving gear while mining. Download Here.

Scuba Gear Mod

This mod actually complements Minecraft gameplay by providing additional scuba gear after you defeat the Drowned– providing an enhancement but also still a sense of challenge. However, I would be cautious about this download, as it is not secure as a site. Download Here.

Why do you need to breathe underwater?

Minecraft Respiration

If you’re playing in Survival Mode, chances are that your priority is building up resources, maybe building a protective stronghold, or even enlisting more protection by learning how to tame a fox.

But if you want more places to mine for resources, you’re missing out if you haven’t tried the ocean or other large bodies of water. In order to do so, being able to breathe underwater for longer, making use of something like the Respiration Enchantment, can guide you to success without the risk of dying.

And even if you’re not into mining underwater? For builders at heart, the appeal of living underwater may also be tempting.

Mining Underwater in Minecraft

Mining underwater in Minecraft can reap the rewards– but also be quite risky. While you’ll face fewer mobs, in order to mine underwater, you’ll need to get to the sea’s bottom. You can either dive directly into the ocean or start out by bordering land and dig in a horizontal pattern. Getting to the bottom of the ocean takes work, dedication, and strategy.

Mining underwater is slower (stay tuned for an additional guide on an enchantment for that purpose) but also riskier, of course, if you can’t breathe for long. But mining underwater means you can gather resources and explore in ways you would have otherwise missed. It also serves as a perfect foundation for creating your underwater home.

Living Underwater in Minecraft

When I say living underwater, keep in mind that you’ll need enchantments and other tricks to help you breathe underwater if you’re in Survival Mode.

But even if you are in Survival Mode, building an underwater home makes for one of the most unique designs in Minecraft and may just add some extra flair to your gameplay– and yet another way the respiration enchantment can guide you to more interesting gameplay.

There are other advantages to living underwater or building a home there. Underwater homes in Minecraft cannot be exploded and are not often penetrated by mobs. But, breathing underwater aside, even just building the home can be complicated– even with enchantments or potions, you risk drowning.

Building the Foundation

To build a home underwater, start by building the foundation for your home. You’ll need to make sure you’re at the bottom level of the body of water, often deep sea. Build a vertical wall and place a door beside it. Next, dig into sea rocks, careful to secure blocks over loose gravel as you make your entrance.

Creating your entrance is one of the most difficult parts, but once you do, you can now add more ways to enter, such as ladders, as well as decor. I also recommend working with plenty of light suitable for use in water, if you know how to make sea lanterns or jack o’lanterns.

Preventing Flooding

Flooding is another risk to underwater homes and flooding– but the good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce or even eliminate your risk of flooding. First and foremost, make sure that walls and doors are airtight.

If you begin construction by digging in a horizontal direction first, this can also create a small hole in which water can be trapped, rather than flooding the entire home.

Emptying Water and Filling Homes

Of course, it’s not much of a home if it’s filled with water. In order to make your underwater home liveable, you’ll need to empty out the water– a tricky but rewarding task. There are several ways to do this: using sand or gravel, sponges, or other unique methods.

Sponges, which you can find only underwater, can absorb a little water at a time and may not be the best primary method–but can be handy for specific nooks and crannies. Once a sponge has fully absorbed the water, it’ll become a wet sponge and will have to be dried using a heat source, such as a furnace.

Most players opt to use gravel and sand to fill their home once the main walls are erected. You can also use honey blocks, wood planks, and even leaves, while glass and iron are the favored materials for constructing a ceiling.

Other Ideas

Once you’ve created the foundation and entryway, ensured there are plenty of light sources, and cleared out the water, you have several options with your new underwater home.

Decorating can make it feel more personal, but you may also want to consider making it more secure by using camouflage techniques, such as placing demi slabs on windows, so interior lights don’t show.

You can also switch up the design and select materials that blend seamlessly with the environment, such as sea glass.

Of course, all of this is doable because you’ve used a strategy to breathe underwater, perhaps using the respiration enchantment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is better – Respiration or Aqua Affinity?

Answer: While both Respiration and Aqua Affinity are enchantments that allow you to make more use of underwater regions– perhaps one of the best things to do in Minecraft–but they are used for different purposes.

Respiration allows you to breathe underwater for longer periods of time, while Aqua Affinity allows you to mine more efficiently.

In other words, it’s not so much a matter of one water-based enchantment being better than the other, but more what your main objective is. You’ll want to reach the highest enchantment level to make the most out of the benefits for both.

Question: What is the best level for enchanting in Minecraft?

Answer: Enchantments like the Respiration Enchantment in Minecraft are best at level 3. At level 3, enchantments will be the most powerful and useful. You can level up the enchantments by collecting experience orbs.

Experience orbs are gained when defeating mobs, and defeating mobs is often made easier by getting a little help from a mob loyal to you, like a horse with a Minecraft saddle.

It’s well worth the effort, even though a Level 3 Respiration, for instance, allots only an additional 15 seconds of breathing underwater vs. the Level 2, or half a minute more than the first Respiration Enchantment level.

Question: How do you explore underwater in Minecraft?

Exploring underwater in Minecraft can be rewarding, allowing you to mine, find new loot, and even erect your own unique Minecraft design. Of course, swimming and navigating the ocean is challenging– short of using cheats like teleporting in Minecraft— oftentimes, you need to have a solid strategy behind you.

First and foremost, use enchantments or potions or even a mod to help you breathe underwater longer. Make sure you have a light source with you that works underwater, like a sea lantern. Other tricks include using doors on the ocean floor.

This odd trick actually works by creating modest pockets of air. Make sure you have a general sense of your breathing meter and how long it takes you to surface, giving yourself a little more time than you think you need to avoid drowning.

Final Thoughts

The Respiration in Enchantment is not worthless, as some players may claim. Used with other smart gameplay strategies, it can help you explore areas you might have otherwise not ventured into, expand your mining capabilities, and even inspire you to become more creative.

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