Tutorials/Drowned farming

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Drowned farming is a way to harvest experience orbs, tridents,[Bedrock Edition only] and other loot carried by drowned zombie mobs. Other loot, carried by both zombie and drowned produced by farming, includes weapons and armor (normal and enchanted) in various states of repair ranging from highly damaged to nearly new.

This tutorial describes a basic farm that can be built in survival mode.


The simplest way to start a survival-mode drowned and zombie farm is to locate a dungeon room that contains a zombie mob spawner. Ideally the room should be reasonably close to the overworld surface, but can be any depth that allows for digging 5 blocks or so underneath the floor. Sometimes a dungeon is found a short distance inside a cave entrance. Unlike an XP farm that generally requires a long falling distance from the dungeon to bring the mobs to near death, no deep excavation is required for a drowned farm.


To construct a survival-mode drowned farm, you will need:

For convenience, it is nice to have nearby (outside the dugeon room):

  • A source of water, such as 3-block long trench of water, for an unlimited supply to scoop with the bucket
  • One lava block in a hole in a safe corner somewhere, for easy disposal of unwanted items collected by the farm
  • A home base or temporary base with your bed, crafting table, anvil, or other helpful items a short walk away
  • Gates or doors as needed to keep mobs from wandering into your cave or tunnel while you work


Side view of a drowned farm. It can be made with a single hopper but works better with more, so the zombies spread out for easier targeting of the drowned. The lower-level water is surrounded by glass blocks with slabs attached to the bottom to prevent any baby zombies from escaping. Signs are visible behind the slabs, holding up the water. The optional lava block allows for easy disposal of unwanted items.

The illustration on the right shows a side view of a basic survival-mode drowned farm, showing the dungeon above and the trap / collection room below.

Prepare the dungeon[edit]

Upon locating a dungeon and breaking into it:

  1. Quickly place a torch on the mob spawner block to prevent it from spawning further zombies.
  2. Kill any remaining zombies in the room.
  3. Close off any holes in the walls other than the entrance way you intend to use to get in and out of the rooom.
  4. Ransack and collect the chests; you will need them later.
  5. It is not necessary to dig out one layer of the floor around the mob spawner, but doing so provides additional volume in which the zombies can spawn. You may also optionally expand the room to 4 blocks from the monster spawner block (a 9×9 room). The room will still produce more than enough zombies without these expansions, however.

Take note of the coordinate location of the center block along the wall with your opening. This floor block is in line with the mob spawner. In the last step you will flood the dungeon with water and dig a hole in this location for the mobs to fall through.

After preparation, exit through your opening. We will close it off in the last step.

Dig out the collection room[edit]

From your entrance hall to the dungeon, dig out some downward stairs (or a vertical shaft equipped with a ladder) and dig out a room underneath the dungeon. The room should be three blocks high. The ceiling of this room may be the floor of the dungeon above, or be a block lower. The room doesn't need to match the dimensions of the dungeon; it needs to be only large enough to move around. Four blocks wide is sufficient, with one wall serving as a boundary for the water channel in the next step.

Prepare the trap[edit]

At the most basic level, the trap consists of a single water block that the zombie falls through from above, landing on a hopper so the zombie's head remains in the water and drowns it. A sign on the wall is used to hold up the bottom of the water block, and solid blocks enclose the water on all sides. Some of these enclosing blocks may be glass, to allow for better identification of drowned zombies versus non-drowned zombies.

With a 1-water-block trap, zombies will crowd into that 1-block space, making it difficult to target the drowned ones with your weapon. It is best to allow the zombies to spread out as they drown by extending the trap to multiple blocks. In practice, a trap using a 3-block water channel, with 3 signs and 3 hoppers, works sufficiently well.

  1. Place blocks (preferably glass) on the ceiling to contain the water channel. One long side of the channel can be bounded by the wall of your room. The channel should be directly below the floor block previously measured in the dungeon above. This is where the water will fall through into the channel.
  2. Place signs along the wall. The signs will hold up the bottom of the water blocks while providing air space for you and mobs to pass by the signs.
  3. Using a water bucket, place a block of water on each end of the channel. If your channel is 3 blocks long, you need only two water blocks; the center block will fill itself in.
  4. Only after filling the channel with water, place the hoppers under each sign, pointing toward at the end of the line. This is the last step in building the trap. Be outside the channel before you install the hoppers or you will end up drowning yourself.
    • Hoppers are needed only to collect drops and move them into the chest.
    • If you can't afford hoppers (due to the amount of iron required), you can use stone blocks. In this case, just dig a 1-block trench next to these stone blocks so that you can fit underneath the overhead slabs, to get close enough to the dropped items to collect them yourself.

Start the farm[edit]

Finally, go back into the dungeon above.

  1. Place two water blocks, one at each corner opposite your entrance opening. The water should completely fill the room, sweeping you toward the entrance. If you have expanded the room and the water doesn't cover the whole floor, you may need an additional water block in the middle of each side wall. The water should flow toward the center of the wall at your entrance hole.
  2. Stand on the threshold of your entrance and dig out the floor block at the center of the wall, causing the water to spill down into the channel in the collection room below.
  3. Break the torch on the mob spawner. The torch will eventually end up in the chest in the collection room.
  4. A zombie will spawn instantly upon breaking the torch. Quickly seal the opening of the dungeon. You can seal it with glass blocks as shown in the illustration, to let you see into the the dungeon.


Operational drowned farm as described above, showing a drowned and a zombie not yet drowned. The recessed area in the floor with stone slabs gives the player a better vantage point for whacking at the legs.

Go down into your collection room. You will see zombies fall into the water-trap channel and start wandering back and forth across the tops of the hoppers with their heads in the water channel. After 30 seconds of having its head submerged, a zombie will start drowning, quivering visibly for 15 seconds, and then change color. Its pants will turn from blue to brownish. Its eyes, visible through the glass blocks, will also change to a blue glow.

The legs of the mobs are exposed to you. Whack your weapon (or even bare hands) at the legs of a drowned. Five hits with a stone sword will kill it, less for better weapons. The mob will die, you will collect XP, and its possessions will drop into the hoppers and end up in the chest (or if you didn't use hoppers, the drops will come to you if you get close enough). Eventually you will collect tridents, nautilus shells, gold, enchanted armor, and of course rotten flesh and miscellaneous other items.

The chests will soon fill up because weapons and armor each occupy their own inventory slots. You may find it useful to have a garbage disposal unit (a block of lava) somewhere in a safe place in the room in which to throw unwanted items. They will disappear into the lava and be destroyed.

Baby zombies will occasionally spawn, but they won't drown because they're too short. Simply kill these when they appear. The slabs under the glass blocks will not only prevent them from escaping, but also prevent them from attacking you.

Fancy variations[edit]

The version described above is fairly quick and simple to construct in survival mode. It isn't automatic, however. It requires your involvement to harvest items from the drowned.

Much fancier, and even automated variations of drowned farms are possible, some of which are built undersea and don't require a monster spawner, and include innovative ideas such as bubble-column elevators to bring items to surface level, and devices to sort items. Creative mode may be necessary to build some variations.

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