back to article Boffins get fish drunk to prove what any bouncer already knows

Can fish get drunk? Yes, apparently. They’re more likely to become anti-social daredevils when the alcohol is mixed with energy drinks, according to a paper published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. A team of researchers discovered this when conducting experiments with zebrafish. They doped up a group of 192 zebrafish …

  1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    So Long & Thanks For All The

    Drunken Fish.

  2. Phil Kingston

    Honeshly oshifer, the zebra fish, he shtarted it

  3. Conspectus83

    Hmm there is definitely something fishy about this article.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Please Cod, make it stop....

        1. Korev Silver badge

          I'm about to eel over these puns are so bad

          1. Loyal Commenter

            Speak for yourself, I'm having a whale of a time.

            1. Shades


              C-C-C-C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!

  4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    How to get

    Pre-battered fish....

    Mine's the one with the angling times..

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: How to get

      Do you know some Plaice to get them from?

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: How to get

        Not too sure, i was more hopping for beer battered cod....

  5. frank ly


    "... that were exposed to more taurine and alcohol ..."

    "... adding caffeinated sugary fizz to alcohol ..."

    Is it the taurine? Is it the caffeine? Is it the sugary fizz? Can I volunteer to be a human test subject? This needs more experiments. Listen to me, I'm talking to you!

    1. Dr Dan Holdsworth

      Re: Hey!

      I'm afraid that experiment has been done, repeatedly, in Glasgow. Buckfast Tonic Wine is a pretty good substitute for any of the aforementioned mixtures; it contains sugar, ethanol and caffeine in stupid proportions, premixed.

      Not for nothing is "Buckie" locally known as "Wreck the hoose juice".

    2. Named coward

      Re: Hey!

      The experiment was done with alcohol and taurine. Not sure where the whole caffeine part comes from

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Hey!

        everyone in the diet-science world loves to blame caffeine! (whereas I rely on it to stay awake - the world can be a really boring place, sometimes)

        found this on teh intarwebs a long time ago: "It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion."

        I should try the alcohol and taurine thing, though, just to make sure. You know, taurine is named 'that' because it comes from beef, right? So alcohol and a nice steak? Or maybe Tequila and an energy drink?

        1. Kernel

          Re: Hey!

          An upvote for the Dune reference.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Hey!

        Isn't taurine a related compound to caffeine? It's what they use in some of the energy drinks that don't use caffeine, or even use both.

        1. Eddy Ito

          Re: Hey!

          Perhaps you're thinking of cysteine. The body synthesizes taurine from cysteine and it is a major component in bile. It has a neurological effect that, if I recall correctly, suppresses the nervous system in some way so I believe it's used to control the shakes one would get with lots of caffeine as found in energy drinks.

          As an aside, it's also the thing which makes cats strict carnivores as they are unable to synthesize taurine and must therefore get it from their diet.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So fish get pikey after a few, not surprising though it's probably not a good idea getting drunk in schools.

  7. m0rt

    "compared to fish that just had alcohol or only water in their tanks."

    Shit. Just alcohol in the tanks?

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: ... just alcohol...

      yeah, word order matters here...

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Lord preserve us! That Zebra fish is totally pickled!

  8. Alan Brown Silver badge


    This hasn't been shown to have any effect on humans at all.

    Perhaps if you were a cat....

  9. Danny 2 Silver badge


    We've studied this in the west of Scotland for decades. The Catholic abbey of Buckfast in Devon produces an alcohol/caffiene brew called Buckfast Tonic Wine which it uses to poison the Protestant working class in and around Glasgow. I have my tongue in my cheek but barely.

    Buckfast: a drink with almost supernatural powers of destruction

    Alcohol makes many lustful and aggressive. Which is great because it also makes anyone fall unconscious. Caffeine keeps you awake, and the worst drunk is an insomniac, energetic drunk.


    I was tricked into handling a west coast councils BACS transfer of employee wages that coincided with an Orange walk. I'd been employed partly to repair old mainframe terminals, partly to introduce PCs - none of their computer department had ever used a PC! I had never used a mainframe, and I had never experienced an Orange walk. All the operators and managers had declined, so I was volunteered.

    I had stupidly got drunk the night before so I was handling a hugely important operation hungover alone the next morning not at my best, but I was fairly confident because I'd been walked through the procedure and it was fairly simple, more tedious than challenging.

    Then the Orange walk started. I never actually saw it because I was inside working all day but I can describe it. 16 unmusical bands marching around my building playing six tunes continuously for six hours, blasting sectarian songs that got progressively more drunken and out of tune while being cheered on by a huge crowd who descended the evolutionary ladder with each rotation.

    There were idiots standing on the very high smoked window sills of our operations room, so high that wouldn't be safe if they were sober, and the awful music, the hateful shouting and my throbbing hangover were making changing the tape reels and typing in the arcane instructions increasingly difficult.

    At one point I turned on the radio for some relief from the chaos outside, Radio 4, spoken word, very quiet. One of the nutters on the window sill took offence, banged on the window and told me, "Turn aff that fuckin music or ah'll pan in these windows and slash ye".

    The idiot parade finished before I finished, but when I left and locked up I looked down this long, posh street and the entire road was covered with broken green glass from all the Buckie bottles.

    Caffeine is an antidote to alcohol, not a supplement.

  10. SVV

    so they drink like a fish?

    Add alcohol to the tank and they get drunk. One of the great scientific discoveries. Certainly not the work of childish PhD students..... maybe they can get a research grant to study the whole range of intoxicants and the whole animal kingdom, so that nobody has to unexpectedly face the terrible wrath of an LSD crazed budgie.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: so they drink like a fish?

      I, for one, think the effect on LSD on budgies has been seriously understudied. They probably get to the top of high buildings and think they can fly.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: so they drink like a fish?

        spiders on drugs? [I checked out that link, it had an interesting photo - "this is your web" "this is your web on various kinds of drugs" - the 'caffeine' one was appropriately 'tweeked']

        Charlotte's Psychadelic Web. heh.

    2. Dr Dan Holdsworth

      Re: so they drink like a fish?

      I'll have you know that a friend of mine decided, many years ago, to find out just what a drunken duck looked like. This was on the campus of York university, an area of land reclaimed from bog. It consists of artfully landscaped fields and ponds, with the zen-like landscaping effect being largely ruined by 60s architecture and undergraduate students. Many turn to alcohol to numb the anti-aesthetic effects of this mixture.

      So, one afternoon Phil decided to experiment on the local ducks, using a supply of cheap vodka and some extremely ancient bread crusts to absorb the alcohol. The local ducks, being made of sterner stuff than most avians, took to alcoholic breadcrust with great gusto, and soon filled up on it.

      The effects were interesting. A drunken duck has trouble balancing, but is so low to the ground that falls don't hurt. It also has difficulties with walking in straight lines, but can swim perfectly happily, albeit in looping circles rather than straight lines. The flight characteristics of drunken ducks were not tested, mostly because Phil was laughing too much to even attempt to get this duck into the air.

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    No alcohol, red bull chemtrail drink and coffee in moderation....

    The lands towards the south must be rather peaceful

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Nick Kew

    Now you have the reply ready ...

    ... for next time some annoying person tells you there's lots of good fish in the sea.

  13. Nick Kew

    University of Portsmouth?

    I guess they have a tradition to maintain. If it's good enough for the sailors and tarts, why not the fish?

    1. A Nonny Moose

      Re: University of Portsmouth?

      I'm surprised they resorted to using fish for this study, a night in Guildhall Square would have given them more than enough data with many willing volunteers

  14. OssianScotland

    For Cod's sake, this is all a red herring!

  15. Anonymous Cowerd

    "natural predator"?

    Oscars come from South America.

    Zebra danios ("zebrafish") come from Asia.

    Natural predator my arse.

    1. Mark 110

      Re: "natural predator"?

      Good call. Additionally "Zebrafish are omnivorous, primarily eating zooplankton, phytoplankton, insects and insect larvae, although they can eat a variety of other foods, such as worms and small crustaceans, if their preferred food sources are not readily available."

      They don't eat fish.

  16. phuzz Silver badge

    Caffeine is a stimulant, alcohol is a depressant*. Together they make trouble.

    Or to put it another way, don't mix uppers and downers.

    (And yes, this is why Bucky can have such an effect. It's good stuff in moderation though, just the thing for livening yourself up before a gig).

    *(In the technical sense that it inhibits part of your brain)

  17. Flakk

    Bees? Now Fish?

    Remember back when those banal "Effects of Alcohol on Animals" experiments at local science fairs were mocked and ridiculed? How did they bring the fish down? Play some Bob Marley?

  18. Mark 85 Silver badge

    the furthest end contained a fake model of an Oscar fish, a natural predator of zebrafish.

    The concept of "fake model" eludes me today... It's either a fake fish or a model of a fish. I think I need to stop testing the alcohol, taurine , and caffeine mixture.

    1. quxinot

      I believe a fake model is in fact a real fish, likely.

      We all know what kind of predator they should have used (see icon).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Natural Predator

    Zebrafish are himalayan natives and always smaller than three inches. Oscar fish are indeed originally from South America, but there are feral populations in places including China, and they can grow to well over a foot in size.

    Unsurprisingly, Oscar fish happily eat little fish like zebras. How natural it is probably depends on point of view.

    Coming next: Research into correlation between attitudes regarding fish predation by non-native species, and readership of the Grauniad / Daily Fail........

  20. Mary Finelli

    It's Animal Abuse

    So that's what happens when zebrafish are subjected to alcohol and so-called energy drinks. It tells us nothing about what happens when humans ingest that combination.

    If someone else did this they could and should be charged with animal abuse, which is what it is. When someone claims to do it as science they get published and money for yet more "research." What a sick scam.

  21. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

    Two Drunken Fish In A Tank

    One says to the other "Dyo doya no err knew hew ta driv thifish thung?".

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon