A Conduit Guide: Making Your Underwater Bases a Reality

Minecraft 1.13 introduced Conduits, a super handy beacon-counterpart. This neat utility block offers a complimentary damage radius against hostile mobs. It also gives a new potion effect called Conduit Power, a mixture of water breathing, haste, and night vision.

Steve swims toward an activated conduit

If you want to create an awesome underwater base, you’ve come to the right place! This article will tell you all there is to know about conduits. Before getting into the main details of conduits, however, the hunt to find its custom ingredients builds more of the Minecraft lore surrounding the underwater realm. In order to build the conduit, you’ll need two rare items: the Heart of the Sea and Nautilus Shells.

A Treasure Hunt: Finding the Heart of the Sea

This rare item can only be found in one structure and has only one purpose: crafting. The Heart of the Sea is naturally found in buried treasure chests, and those can only be found using a treasure map to find the chest’s location. The easiest way to locate such treasure maps is in a Shipwreck, as the structure is guaranteed a map, labeled as such. Thus, find a shipwreck, pick up the treasure map, and then follow the map until the “X marks the spot.” Next, dig to find the treasure, and open the buried treasure to find the Heart of the Sea.

The Heart of the Sea, part of the conduit crafting recipe

Fun fact, when you open any buried treasure, you receive an achievement called Me Gold! which shares an icon similar to the Heart of the Sea. Now that you have found the first item, time for the Nautilus shells…

An underwater shipwreck, part of the journey to craft a conduit

Uncovering Shells: Nautilus Shell Discoveries

Similar to The Heart of the Sea, this item exists only for the crafting recipe. In order to craft a Conduit, you need to gather eight nautilus shells to surround the Heart of the Sea in the crafting recipe. As of 1.17.1, there are three ways of gathering nautilus shells.

  1. Fishing. The shells are a rare item when fishing, but using Luck of the Sea on the player’s fishing rod.
  2. Drowned. About 3-9% of these underwater zombies spawn with the shells in hand, and if killed, will drop the shells.
  3. Wandering Traders. These traveling villagers trade nautilus shells for five emeralds. It takes quite long for these traders to appear as stated, on the official Minecraft Wiki:

“On average, it takes 14.325 Minecraft days for a wandering trader to spawn.”

Minecraft Wiki – Wandering Trader

Again, even if you find the Wandering Trader, he must be offering a trade, which is not guaranteed with every trader.

Crafting and Building the Conduit

After gathering all the required materials, it’s time to assemble the conduit. Place the Heart of the Sea in the center slot, while placing one of the shells in the other slots on the Crafting Bench.

The conduit crafting recipe

Now that you have this rare block in your hand, what to do next? In order for the conduit to be activated, a structure needs to be built around it to power and channel its energy.

More crafting and assembling? After all that? Yes, I know – just hang in there.

The most common way to activate is by building a frame-like star around the conduit. First, the conduit needs to be in the center of a 3x3x3 volume of water. The surrounding frame is built within the 5×5 frames on each axis, in a star-like formation. Any combination of prismarine blocks (lanterns, dark prismarine, regular prismarine, and prismarine bricks) all function towards the frame. However, note that slabs, stairs, or walls of prismarine don’t contribute towards the activation. Listed below is a more detailed explanation about assembly.

Assembly: Making The Conduit Frame

*In order to see the steps clearly, water is absent from the diagrams, but the conduit needs water to function.

First, leaving a one block gap between the bottom star and the conduit, place down 9 prismarine blocks in a star-like formation.

Step 1

Second, repeat the star on the top, again leaving a one block gap between the top of the conduit and the top layer.

Step 2

Next, connect all four ends of the star from top to bottom. Between steps two and three, the conduit will activate, but there is still one more step to increase the range of the block.


Finally, To finish the conduit, add a middle ring that connects all the pillars, completing the frame on all the axes.

4th step for activating a conduit

Other Creative Ways of Making Conduits

Look below for other unique conduit designs that still function well! A minimum of 16 prismarine-related blocks are required for it to activate. As long as the 3x3x3 volume surrounding the conduit is empty of other blocks but water, the builds are still able to achieve the maximum range of a conduit while creating a creative underwater structure. You can also experiment with using waterlogged blocks!

A Mermaid Conduit design by Grian
A Crown Conduit design by khixan
Hot Air Balloon Conduit design by MoreMoople

That concludes my blog post about conduits. Conduits are essential for your next underwater adventure and can provide a handy damage back-up during a possible crisis. Good luck to everyone in the their next underwater adventure and hopefully you will be able to create your own conduit!

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