The remaining five tropheus are doing great actually. The fish that had been lost are going to be replaced. I'm a bit wary of introducing the new tropheus to the tank where the 5 that have been in there have established their territories already.
As for introducing the tropheus into the tank after shipping, I was extremely careful with what I did to get them into the tank. I let the bags acclimate to my tank water temp for at least a 1/2 hour. The fish had been starved for 3 days previous to being shipped, so there was basically no wastes in the bag water what so ever...but I did not check the parameters of the water that they were shipped in. Every 15 mintues for about 45 minutes to an hour, I added a little of my tank water to the bags. Once the tropheus were placed in the tank, they seemed fine. No one was hiding, no one was on the bottom and no heavy respiration. Over the next few days things went down hill. I was advised not to feed them for a few days after they were placed within my aquarium...which I did just that...so they had no food during the whole time. At the time that the fish were put into the tank my parameteres were pretty much the same as they are now except the GH = 13. Once I fed them was when I knew there were problems. Some of the fish ate, but most didn't, which shocked me considering that they hadn't eaten for 6 days! Then came the stringy white poop, clamped fins, and hiding. Oh and incase you were interested, my tank temperature has been at 78 degrees consistent. The person that I bought the fish from is extremely reputible and trust worthy, so that's not the issue either. He did send along a bunch of the food that he had been feeding them and that is all that I have fed them since I've had them. I have 3 filters on my 120 Gallon tank, an XP3, XP4 and a HOB Rena Smartfilter 55.
As I had said earlier, I started using the Epsom Salt to help them with digestion (advised by the fish supplier) when I first noticed some not eating. I did a 40% water change first, then added the Epsom salt, SeaChem Cichlid Salt and Prime with the water change. I don't mind adding the Epsom Salt...I'd like to add less than 1 Tbsp/5 gallons though and start adding the SeaChem Tang Buffer again. Do you think that would be okay to do? Say cut the Epsom Salt down to 1 tsp/5 gallons and start adding the recommended SeaChem Buffer? I have well water and out of the tap it's about PH = 7.8. I've checked ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates and there is nothing showing at all. I have not checked the GH or KH though...I just assumed that wouldn't matter that much.
When the replacement fish arrive, I have Metro on hand...just in case, but I want to make sure that I am absolutely prepared this time, because I was physically sick watching those cute little tropheus die and I don't think I can go through that ordeal again.