The Breath Meter is an indicator of how long the player can go without starting to take damage from drowning. As of 1.3, the breath bar is located above the player's head, rather than underneath the health bar.
A full air gauge lasts 23 seconds before running out and causing the player to take damage from suffocation. A Breathing Reed increases this time to 46 seconds, while the Diving Helmet increases it to 1 minute and 30 seconds. You can also use these in conjunction with each other, further increasing the available breath time to an astounding 3 minutes (though keep in mind that switching your selected item from the Breathing Reed will cause the associated air time to disappear).
- When a player equips a Fish Bowl in their armor slot, their breath will start to drain. This can be countered by holding out a Breathing Reed.
- The Breath Meter becomes a non-issue if you have the Neptune's Shell, Moon Shell, or Celestial Shell accessory items equipped, as their effects include water breathing.
- As of Version 1.2, moving through lava with or without the effects of the Obsidian Skin Potion will no longer cause the breath meter to appear.
- On the Mobile version of Terraria, the breath meter is above the character's head, and only has 5 bubbles.
- Gills Potion allows the player to breath water instead air for 2 minutes (the Breath Meter will disappear).