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5 things you probably didn’t know about respiration in Minecraft

A diamond helmet and turtle shell with respiration enchantments (Image via Minecraft)
A diamond helmet and turtle shell with respiration enchantments (Image via Minecraft)
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Jacob Burkett

Respiration is one of Minecraft’s enchantments and can be placed exclusively on helmets. It adds extra time underwater for players, which is vital for anyone hoping to take on an ocean monument or mine a coral reef for its pretty blocks.

Between its low enchantment weight of two, on the lower half of all enchantment rarity, and exclusivity to helmets, players who don’t go out of their way to get every enchantment available to them for their armor might not know all the ins and outs of the respiration enchantment.


5 things you might not know about Respiration in Minecraft

5) Enchantment math

A player adding respiration to their helmet using an anvil (Image via Minecraft)
A player adding respiration to their helmet using an anvil (Image via Minecraft)

Each level of respiration adds an additional 15 seconds of breathing. Since there are three levels of respiration available in the base game, that means the levels add 15, 30, and 45 seconds of underwater time, respectively. This is in addition to the base underwater time of 15 seconds, meaning that respiration three gives players a total of 60 seconds underwater.


4) Turtle shells

A scute near a recently grown horse (Image via Minecraft)
A scute near a recently grown horse (Image via Minecraft)

While the only armor players can add respiration to are helmets, they are not the only items in the game that this enchantment can be added to. Respiration can also be placed on turtle shells. This is a special kind of helmet, with a defense equal to iron but a durability that is in between iron and diamond.

Players can craft turtle shells using five scutes, which baby turtles drop upon growing into adults. This does mean players will have to find a beach that a pair of turtles call home, which is totally RNG (random number generator) dependent.


3) Console commands

An example of a respiration chestplate made using console commands (Image via Minecraft)
An example of a respiration chestplate made using console commands (Image via Minecraft)

While the only items that respiration can be added to normally are helmets and turtle shells, the enchantment can be put on any piece of armor using console commands. The level of enchantment can also be made higher than three using console commands, and the duration of underwater time increases exactly the same as normal: 15 seconds per level of respiration.


2) Turtle shell stacking

A player swimming with a respiration turtle shell (Image via Minecraft)
A player swimming with a respiration turtle shell (Image via Minecraft)

This increased breathing time from respiration also stacks with the turtle shell’s unique water breathing properties. Turtle shells add an additional 10 seconds of underwater time to players when worn. This means that if respiration three is placed on a turtle shell, the player will be granted a total of 55 extra seconds of underwater time, for a total of 70 seconds.


1) Avoid drowning damage

A player drowning underwater (Image via Minecraft)
A player drowning underwater (Image via Minecraft)

Players who stay underwater for longer than the respiration enchantment allows will begin to drown. However, respiration does have a secondary effect. It reduces the chance of players taking drowning damage each second by the formula: level/(level+1). This means that at respiration three, there is a ¾ chance that players will avoid drowning damage each time they would normally take it.


Edited by R. Elahi
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