Create, Read, Update, Delete

When you have your Schema and Models defined, learn how to manipulate them!


Get a collection

The Collection object is how you find, query, and create new records of a given type.

const postsCollection = database.get('posts')

Pass the table name as the argument.

Find a record (by ID)

const postId = 'abcdefgh'
const post = await database.get('posts').find(postId)

find() returns a Promise. If the record cannot be found, the Promise will be rejected.

Query records

Find a list of records matching given conditions by making a Query and then fetching it:

const allPosts = await database.get('posts').query().fetch()
const numberOfStarredPosts = await database.get('posts').query(
  Q.where('is_starred', true)

➡️ Learn more: Queries

Modifying the database

All modifications to the database (like creating, updating, deleting records) must be done in a Writer, either by wrapping your work in database.write():

await database.write(async () => {
  const comment = await database.get('comments').find(commentId)
  await comment.update(() => {
    comment.isSpam = true

Or by defining a @writer method on a Model:

import { writer } from '@nozbe/watermelondb/decorators'

class Comment extends Model {
  // (...)
  @writer async markAsSpam() {
    await this.update(comment => {
      comment.isSpam = true

➡️ Learn more: Writers

Create a new record

const newPost = await database.get('posts').create(post => {
  post.title = 'New post'
  post.body = 'Lorem ipsum...'

.create() takes a "builder function". In the example above, the builder will get a Post object as an argument. Use this object to set values for fields you defined.

Note: Always await the Promise returned by create before you access the created record.

Note: You can only set fields inside create() or update() builder functions.

Update a record

await somePost.update(post => {
  post.title = 'Updated title'

Like creating, updating takes a builder function, where you can use field setters.

Note: Always await the Promise returned by update before you access the modified record.

Delete a record

There are two ways of deleting records: syncable (mark as deleted), and permanent.

If you only use Watermelon as a local database, destroy records permanently, if you synchronize, mark as deleted instead.

await somePost.markAsDeleted() // syncable
await somePost.destroyPermanently() // permanent

Note: Do not access, update, or observe records after they're deleted.


  • Model.observe() - usually you only use this when connecting records to components, but you can manually observe a record outside of React components. The returned RxJS Observable will emit the record immediately upon subscription, and then every time the record is updated. If the record is deleted, the Observable will complete.
  • Query.observe(), Relation.observe() — analagous to the above, but for Queries and Relations
  • Query.observeWithColumns() - used for sorted lists
  • Collection.findAndObserve(id) — same as using .find(id) and then calling record.observe()
  • Model.prepareUpdate(), Collection.prepareCreate, Database.batch — used for batch updates
  • Database.unsafeResetDatabase() destroys the whole database - be sure to see this comment before using it
  • To override the during the creation, e.g. to sync with a remote database, you can do it by record._raw property. Be aware that the id must be of type string.
    await database.get('posts').create(post => { = serverId

Advanced: Unsafe raw execute

⚠️ Do not use this if you don't know what you're doing...

There is an escape hatch to drop down from WatermelonDB to underlying database level to execute arbitrary commands. Use as a last resort tool:

await database.write(() => {
  // sqlite:
  await database.adapter.unsafeExecute({
    sqls: [
      // [sql_query, [placeholder arguments, ...]]
      ['create table temporary_test (id, foo, bar)', []],
      ['insert into temporary_test (id, foo, bar) values (?, ?, ?)', ['t1', true, 3.14]],

  // lokijs:
  await database.adapter.unsafeExecute({
    loki: loki => {
      loki.addCollection('temporary_test', { unique: ['id'], indices: [], disableMeta: true })
      loki.getCollection('temporary_test').insert({ id: 't1', foo: true, bar: 3.14 })

Next steps

➡️ Now that you can create and update records, connect them to React components