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Minecraft Wiki
See also: Solid block

Flowing water and lava.

Many animals, such as the coral and tropical fish in this picture, rely on liquids such as water to survive.

Liquids (or fluids) are a special type of block that can cause "liquid" to flow over the terrain, forming rivers or falls. There are two blocks of this type in the main versions of Minecraft: water and lava.

Water (animated).png Lava.gif
Water Lava

Another liquid, mud, also existed in Minecraft Earth.

There are other in-game substances which show liquid properties but cannot be placed as liquid blocks, mainly potions, dyed water‌[Bedrock Edition only], milk, and honey.


Minecraft liquids can be placed like solid blocks, but cannot be picked up without a bucket or a bottle.

When placed in open terrain, liquid blocks are a source for a flow, unless they are confined by other blocks. A completely confined liquid renders as still.

Water and lava as still blocks.

Source blocks that are at least partly liberated begin to flow, spreading according to the flowing fluid rules, and render as flowing, with animated lines demonstrating their direction of flow.

Lava block open to flow on one side

A source block appears as being "full" nearly to the top of its containing blocks (if any) while flowing liquid blocks appear to be "emptier" the further they are from their source.

Liquids can interact with each other, and with other blocks they are placed next to or flow over or past, according to the properties of the affected block.

Flowing liquids exert pressure on entities pushing them in the direction of the flow. Item drops that fall into a flowing liquid are carried along until they get caught in an eddy or the flow reaches its maximum extent. Most mobs are able to float in liquids, so they do not drown, but cannot swim upstream, which makes a liquid flowing into a dead end a useful mob trap.

Liquid blocks are non-solids in the same way that air is, so placing a solid into a liquid block, source or flowing, succeeds if placement detects the side of a solid block through the liquid.

Water source blocks placed such that they create a waterlogged non-solid block behave as any source block would, with the exceptions noted in the following sections.

Water cannot be placed in the Nether, in both survival mode and creative mode. The only way to get water into the Nether is by using the /setblock command.


Water flowing down a cliff, demonstrating flowing mechanics.


Liquid blocks have a depth value that measures how "empty" it is. A source block having a depth value of 0, so it is full. Flowing liquids have a depth value equal to their source's depth + 1, with a maximum possible "emptiness" value of 7 where the flow stops. Thus, a flowing block next to a source has depth value 1, the next further away 2, and so on till the flow stops.

The rendering of liquids is controlled by their depth values both in the height of liquid level and the direction of flow displayed.

Lava in the Overworld has a maximum depth of 3, but in the Nether its maximum depth value is 7.


Once a source block is placed, the liquid spreading procedure begins. It does not matter if the source placed makes a waterlogged block or is placed into a block of air; both work the same way. This block is the first block on a sort of list of blocks involved in the spreading procedure.

First, each open side of a liquid block starts a flow. A water block in a flat plain spreads out in all four directions until it reaches the depth limit, forming a diamond shape nine blocks point-to-point. A water source floating in midair flows out to each of its four sides and then down. Each flowing block created is added to a list of blocks to be considered for further spreading.

Now the blocks directly below each source or flowing blocks on the "spreading list" are checked:

  1. If that block is air, it is replaced by a flowing liquid block with a depth value of 0. This new block is also added to the "spreading list".
    • Because of this, liquids can flow much farther if it flows downward occasionally than if it remains on a flat surface.
  2. If the block below is a waterlogged, non-solid block, then checking stops as the waterlogged source block has its own "spreading list".
  3. If the block below is a type of non-solid block that is affected by the liquid, then it may be converted into a dropped item. The block is then replaced by a flowing block with depth value 1 greater that the block above and is added to the spreading list. The block above is removed from the "spreading list".
  4. If the block below is a solid block, or one of a few non-solid blocks (e.g. fences) that are unaffected by liquids, flow spreads out to all open sides. These additional flowing blocks are added to the list.
    • If all four of the surrounding blocks are also solid, the spreading procedure stops. This is how a lava or water column that does not spread over the ground can be created.
  5. If the block below is a liquid block of another type, the rules for mixing liquids are considered. If new flowing blocks are created they are added to the list.
  6. If the block below is a source block of the same liquid, then flowing stops.

Flowing liquid has a speed value that governs how fast the spreading effect takes place. Water in the Overworld and lava in the Nether move at the same speed of 1 block every 5 ticks, or 4 blocks per second. However, lava in the Overworld is much slower than water, and moves at only 1 block every 30 game ticks, or 2 blocks every 3 seconds. Note that in Bedrock Edition, liquids may flow faster than they should, especially if an adjacent observer is repeatedly activating, due to MCPE-73342.

Flow direction[]

Liquids consider the shortest distance to the edge of a cliff, and prioritize flowing in that direction.

The shape of the ground around a flow is considered when evaluating its spread, giving preference to the creation of water or lava falls, for aesthetic purposes. During the evaluation of horizontal spread, the 5-block area around source and flowing blocks is checked for air one block below the liquid block. These air blocks, and the blocks preceding them, are all converted to liquid blocks with depth level of 1 greater than the current block to establish a simple flow, but are not added to the collection for later consideration.

For example, the flow of water from a single source placed within 7 blocks of an edge is only one block wide to the edge, and then falls as a one block wide stream, as demonstrated in the image to the right.

Directional flow[]

Normal water spreading

Water normally spreads equally in all directions from a waterlogged block, as seen to the right.

In the same test setup the water flow from a stair or banner is one-directional.

In 1.13, there is something changed on the directional flow of water from a waterlogged stair or banner.[more information needed]


Lava seeping through one layer of dirt

If particles are fully enabled in the options menu, solid blocks that have air below and liquid above drip, as a visual indication that only one layer of blocks separates the player from the liquid above. Dripping lava does not cause damage or start fires. It can take several seconds before dripping starts.

Block updates[]

These actions cause a liquid block to update:

  • Another block is placed into its space
  • Liquid starts to flow in from an adjacent block
  • An established incoming flow stops

Generated structures never cause block updates to adjacent liquids when they generate. For example, a cave entrance that is created partly below water level at the edge of a body of water or lava does not cause the liquid to flow until it receives a block update. On the other hand, liquids created as part of a structure flow immediately if not completely confined; this includes holes in the bottom of an ocean that open into a ravine below.


When the two liquids interact, the results vary depending on the position of the liquid source.

  • If lava flows vertically into water, the water turns into stone.
  • If lava flows horizontally into water, the lava turns into cobblestone.
  • If water flows horizontally into flowing lava, the lava turns into cobblestone. Prior to Java Edition 1.16 snapshot 20w13a, a hiss sound and puff of steam effect occurred, but the water and lava remained unchanged.
  • If water flows vertically into flowing lava, either cobblestone or nothing may result.
  • If water flows into a lava source block, it creates obsidian. The lava source is destroyed in the process, so unlike with cobblestone, obsidian is not renewable with this method.
  • If water falling vertically touches a lava source block on any side, the lava turns into obsidian—even if the water would not otherwise run into the lava.
  • If lava flows over soul soil next to blue ice, the lava turns into basalt.



Java Edition Classic
0.0.12aAdded water and lava.
Java Edition
1.0.0Beta 1.9 PrereleaseLiquid that is suspended above an open area by one block thick of material seeps through the material and have drip particles fall to the floor.
Lava that falls onto water produces stone, instead of replacing the water.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 5A lava block could be converted into a source block if the following conditions were met:
  • it is bordered by 4 lava sources in a cross-like arrangement
  • the 4 sources are on the same horizontal level as it
  • there is a solid, opaque block underneath it
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 6Lava source blocks can no longer be created.
1.1318w10cChanged water physics.
18w10dWater no longer flows through the rearside of stairs.
18w19aSeparated some of the logic for blocks and fluids.
1.1620w09aLava now pushes entities.
20w13aBasalt can now be formed when lava flows over soul soil next to blue ice.


Issues relating to "Liquid" are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.