Drowned farming is a way to harvest experience orbs and loot dropped by both zombie and drowned mobs. In addition to explaining general mechanics of drowned farming, this tutorial describes a basic drowned/zombie farm that is easy to construct in survival mode. In all editions, this farm produces the usual rotten flesh, gold, armor, and weapons dropped by zombies, as well as experience orbs. In Bedrock Edition the farm also produces tridents and nautilus shells dropped by drowned.
More complex farms are possible, particularly underwater farms for naturally-spawned drowned, which yield tridents in Java Edition. The basic survival-mode farm described here is still useful in Java Edition for gaining a quick and easy way to harvest experience and zombie drops without requiring significant construction or materials.
- 1 Mechanics
- 2 Survival-mode build: Flooded dungeon
- 3 Complex variations
There are two main ways to farm drowned, depending on the Edition and which drops you desire most. In most cases, it's a good idea to kill the drowned manually to obtain the more valuable loot.
In Java Edition, this farm produces the usual zombie drops as well as experience (XP), but it doesn't produce the tridents and nautilus shells specific to drowned. In Bedrock Edition, this farm does produce nautilus shells and tridents.
A flooded dungeon works by spawning zombies naturally from the monster spawner in the dungeon. The zombies are funneled into an underwater chamber where they drown. Once converted to drowned, the player can manually kill them for their loot and experience.
An underwater farm is the only known way to farm tridents in Java Edition. Drowned farms in a body of water are more complicated because they function similar to a dry-land mob farm.
In an underwater farm, naturally-spawned drowned are attracted to a location and funneled into one area where the player can kill them. A villager is typically used as bait to attract drowned, and the funneling can be accomplished with bubble columns. Transporting a villager to an undersea room in survival mode is a complex undertaking that requires much forethought, preparation, implementation time, and risk.
Instead of a villager, a turtle egg might also work as bait, although this is less reliable because drowned don't detect eggs as they do villagers; they must first happen to look in the egg's direction, then have a clear path to the egg, and the egg must have sufficient space above to allow trampling on it.
Survival-mode build: Flooded dungeon
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 need a conveniently located dungeon with a zombie monster spawner, as well as a good weapon to clear out the dungeon, a cheap weapon to harvest drowned, torches, pickaxes, a water bucket, and a few signs. Optionally, glass blocks are helpful for viewing when a zombie becomes drowned. Hoppers and a couple of chests also aid collection but are not necessary.
For convenience, it is nice to have nearby (outside the dungeon room), a source of water to scoop with the bucket, gates or doors to keep mobs from wandering into your cave while you work, and a home base or temporary base with your bed, crafting table, and other helpful items a short walk away.
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
Upon locating a dungeon and breaking into it:
- Quickly place a torch on the mob spawner block to prevent it from spawning further zombies.
- Use your good weapon to kill any remaining zombies in the room.
- Close off any holes in the walls other than the entrance way you intend to use to get in and out of the room.
- Ransack and collect the chests for later use.
- It is not necessary to dig out one layer of the floor around the mob spawner, but doing so lets the spawner use its full vertical spawning volume. You may also optionally expand the room to 4 blocks horizontally from the monster spawner block (a 9×9 room). The room still produces 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 flood the dungeon with water and dig a hole in this location for the mobs to fall through.
After preparation, exit through your opening. Don't close it off yet.
Prepare the trap
Next, underneath the dungeon, excavate the trap room. The room should be large enough to move around in, and contain the trap described below.
At the most basic level, the trap consists of a single water block that the zombie falls through from above, landing on a block (or a hopper) so the zombie's head remains in the water and drowns it. A sign on the wall holds up the bottom of the water block, and solid blocks enclose the water on all sides. The enclosing blocks may be glass to aid your identification of drowned zombies versus non-drowned zombies.
With a one-water-block trap, zombies just crowd into that one-block space, making it difficult to target the drowned zombies with your weapon. Allow the zombies to spread out as they drown by extending the trap to multiple blocks. In practice, a trap using a two-block water channel held up with two signs, with two landing blocks (or hoppers) below the channel, works sufficiently well. The illustration shows a design using a three-block water channel, three signs, and three hoppers.
- 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 falls through into the channel.
- Place signs along the wall. The signs hold up the bottom of the water blocks while providing air space for you and mobs to pass by the signs.
- 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 fills itself in. The channel must be completely full of still water. Running water allows for some breathing space; you want to avoid that.
- Only after filling the channel with water, place the hoppers under each sign, pointing toward the chest at the end of the line. This is the last step in building the trap. Be outside the channel before you install the hoppers, lest you 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
Finally, go back into the dungeon above.
- 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 on each side wall, or build a stone structure in the far corners for the water to cascade down and spread more. If you stand anywhere in the room, the water should push you toward the center of the wall at your entrance hole.
- Stand on the threshold of your entrance, out of the water, to avoid drowning yourself in this step. 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. The reason to dig this hole after flooding the dungeon is because placing a water block near a hole causes the flow direction rules to prevent the water from covering the entire room.
- Break the torch on the mob spawner. A zombie spawns the instant the torch breaks. 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. You can recover the torch from the chest below.
Go down into your collection room. As zombies fall into the water-trap channel, they wander 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 starts to drown, quivering visibly for 15 seconds, and then changes color. Its pants turn from blue to greenish. Its eyes, visible through the glass blocks, also change to a blue glow.
The legs of the mobs are exposed to you. With your cheap weapon, or even bare hands, whack at the legs of a drowned. Four hits with a stone sword can kill it. Experience orbs float toward you, and the drowned's possessions drop into the hoppers and end up in the chest (or if you didn't use hoppers, the drops come to you if you get close enough). Eventually tridents and nautilus shells[Bedrock Edition only], as well as gold and enchanted armor appear in the collection chest along with rotten flesh and miscellaneous other items.
The chest fills quickly because weapons and armor each occupy their own inventory slots. You may find it useful to have a garbage disposal hole in the ground somewhere in the room in which to throw unwanted items, which despawn after a few minutes in the hole. You can combine damaged tridents, and other unenchanted armor and weapons, in your inventory to repair them, thereby saving space in your chest.
Baby zombies occasionally spawn, but they don't drown because they're too short. Simply kill these when they appear. The slabs under the glass blocks prevent them from escaping, and also prevent them from attacking you (although they can still hit downward if you get too close). Zombie villagers also spawn occasionally, and can be killed immediately because they don't drown.
The basic zombie farm described in this tutorial 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, usually requiring creative mode for construction.
Java Edition trident farming
In Java Edition, harvesting loot from drowned zombies does not yield tridents; tridents can be obtained only from naturally-spawned drowned. The basic farm described in this tutorial, however, is still useful for a survival-mode zombie loot farm to get experience, tools, armor, and weapons with occasional interesting enchantments, as well as other items — without needing to build a deep falling pit or a tall structure in the sky.
Drowned farms on the ocean floor are more complicated because they function similarly to a mob farm, capturing naturally-spawned drowned. First, the drowned should be attracted to one location. Once they are attracted, they need to be funneled into one area where the player can easily kill them. The attracting is often done with villager bait and the funneling is often accomplished with bubble columns.
Some farms incorporate innovative ideas such as bubble-column elevators to bring items to surface level, and devices to sort items. The player can circumvent the hostile mob cap (but not the maxEntityCramming gamerule) by pushing the attracted drowned into the Nether dimension. If the Nether dimension is unusable for this purpose, then the bubble columns can transport the drowned up to the player's AFK spot, typically high in the sky. These farms are more practical to build in creative mode.