To Help You We Need A Little Help, Please...


Original poster
Staff member
MFK Member
Apr 27, 2005
In my 50+ years of helping hobbyists in keeping their fish healthy and happy it's often not easy after hearing input like;

"My fish died. What happened?

No, I didn't take the 2 seconds needed to check the temperature. I've thought of buying a test kit but never got around to it. But, I know the parameters are fine. I don't remember the names of the tank mates but, they don't fight each other, ...much. Yes, I feed them everyday but, I can't describe what and how much. No, I don't remember how old they are or can guess how long they live. My tank is either a 20 gallon or 200 gallon. I don't remember and don't own a tape measure. Yes, I do water changes every week. What's a gravel vac?"

As much as I want to help, zero effort on the owner's part will receive an investment return of zero percent on my part as my crystal ball is on the fritz and I can't mind-meld with the fish from such a long distance away.

This is a Default Disease Questionnaire. Keeping it, as a reference, and filling out what can be filled out will go a long way in helping figure out what's happening in an aquarium event.

Default Disease Questionnaire

Please complete this questionnaire if your fish are sick (copy and paste). The more details you can provide, the better we are able to diagnose and help you treat your sick fish.



1. Please explain the problems with your fish. When did you notice the problems and did anything unusual happen that you think started them?

2. Symptoms (i.e. turning dark, excess slime, not eating, clamped fins, flashing, darting, clamped gills, white/yellow/green poop, hiding, headstanding or tailstanding, white on tips of fins, rotting or fungus, blisters/white zits on fish, bloated, cloudy eyes, wounds).

3. What medications/ treatments have you already tried and what were the results. Include dosage and duration of treatment.


4. Tank size and ages, numbers and sizes of fish.

5. Water change regime (What percentage and how often).

6. How long has tank been running? Is it bare bottom? If you have substrate, what type and how deep is it?

7. Do you age your water? If you do for how long and what is the pH swing?

8. Parameters and water source;

Note: Water Parameters are important in diagnosing problems within a tank. If you don't own test kits for the following information, you can purchase them, test your parameters and post this info as soon as possible.

- temp _____

- pH _____

- ammonia reading ____

- nitrite reading ____

- nitrate reading ____

What type of water or combinations of water sources do you use? If it is an RO/tap/well water mix, please list percentages in the mix.

- well water ____

- municipal water ____

- RO water ____

9. Any new fish, plants or inverts added recently?

10. What are the fish fed? How much and how often?

11. Include any pictures or videos you have which shows the symptoms. If you can't add them to this post, please provide a link to them.


MFK Member
Nov 13, 2008
man i wish you had this template when i sent you a private message with my questions years back :) awesome write up!