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Discussion Starter #1
I started a planted tank about 2 months ago.

125 gallons
79 degrees
Soil master
520 watts
Pressurized CO2
10 Hours of light
Good amount of fast and slow growing plants.

I started with 7 blue/German rams, all local breed. 2 Bolivian rams (local), about 30 neons, +/-30 Glass Shrimp and 2 Pictus Catfish. I have been using the EI dosing method for my plants that seem fine just a little BBA outbreak. Meaning that I have been doing a +/-50% water a week. My problem is that I have lost all but 2 German rams. Same goes for the Neons all but 5 left and 1 dead pictus. The Bolivians seem to be the only ones doing good, the shrimp are big and fat thou every now and then I find a dead one in the bottom of the tank. When I do find a dead fish or shrimp I remove it promptly just in case their is an infection.

I have keep other fish for past 4 years and have seen many illnesses but this has me perplexed. As I type this I see one of my German Ram isn't eating and seems to be slumming on the bottom of tank and breathing heavily. Their is no sign of physical illness other then a Popeye on the German ram eating fine. It apperace he has just hit his eye on a rock or something.

Anyone have any advice on what to do?

I feed them twice a day. Just 2 pinches of NLS w/ garlic and Half a block of Brine shrimp before lights out.

I will not add anymore fish for the time being. I would like to have a school of tetras in the tank eventually, is their a hardier tetra then the neons that can endure constant water changes IE 50% a week?
 

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This sounds normal for a cycling tank. Ammonia spike kills off less hardy fish. The problem is you added way too many fish at once. I'm surprised all your shrimp are not dead, they are usually quite sensitive to ammonia.

Please post the test results for this tank for:
pH
ammonia
nitrite
nitrate

My general rule for a new tank is only add 10-20% of fish inches to a new tank. For a 125g tank, start out only with 12-24 inches of fish. Inches are calculated by looking at the full, adult size of the fish. If rams get to 4 inches max, use 4 inches per ram.

Also, I believe neons require water with a pH below 7, around 6-6.5. They are also extremely inbred and sensitive.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Nitrate=40ppm
Nitrite=0ppm
pH=6.8

Any advice on something hardier then Neons?
 

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Are you looking for small, shoaling fish?

Harlequin Rasboras are nice and peaceful.

Neons would be fine, but only if the tank is well established.
 

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acclimation?

How did you acclimate the fish? My LFS reccomends a slow drip and provides homemade drip bottles for the purpose. These are a plastic water or soda bottle with the top cut off, a hole drilled or punctured in the lower side, a piece of silicone airline forced through and a plastic valve like a little faucet with a knob for adjusting. With this method you put the fish in a container held down by lights or something in the top of the tank (for temp) and drip into it.
I have also done it using a bit of airline tubing and a plastic valve normally sold to lower the airline pressure, but I think you could also use a clothespin. Start a siphon dripping into a bucket or critter keeper holding the fish at a lower location, then turn the knob or clamp to to slow the drip. After 50% of your water drips in test pH and if they don't match pour half the new fish water off and drip again. It's great because you can do other stuff while your fish are dripping. It can take an hour or more to do it right if the pH values are very different. My LFS claims fish die of pH shock up to two weeks after if not done slowly.
 

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Wc

Also EI's 50% water changes may be tough on fish. I've been told fish prefer smaller (like 25%) changes. If you're going to do 50% make sure pH isn't way off... some difference due to CO2 drop is ok but you might want to adjust if you have a really big difference like I do (because of the local water dept.)

For this I use Seachem Acid and Alkaline buffers together. I use the formulas suggested for RO water because my tap water is so soft (2:1 alk:acid to get to 7.0), but you may have to do something else depending on your water. I find I can use less than they say and it still works. In fact I used to do one scoop acid buffer to two alkaline in a whole five gallon bucket of change water. The water company puts something in our soft water that makes the pH super high so it won't etch the pipes, and the buffers crash that so the water can go immediately to 7.0 which is what it is when aged (before or without CO2).

Don't use the other types of buffers, these are for planted tanks, in fact they provide a blast of carbon and my plants usually pearl after a water change.:icon_wink
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the advice and yes I am looking for shoaling fish.I will keep the Rasboras in mind. As far as buffering I know I loose a whole point due to Co2, according to what I have been told that is normal. I think at this point my issue is to many fish at once. I am down to 2 neons and the dripping theory sounds interesting, can't believe I never heard of this before. My tank looks so empty but stable. Any other shoaling fish recommendations. current fish list,

2 Pictus Cats
1 German Ram
4 Bolivian - 2 where introduced to tank a week ago
1 Red Betta - Wife idea
2 Neons
+/- 15 Ghost shrimp
 

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I think it's just too many fish in a short period of time and too frequent large water changes...not enough time for the tank to really stabilize.
 

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Neon hardiness varies by stock. My tap comes out at 9 according to the water report, 8.1-8.2 according to my test kits. I don't do anything to lower the pH, and my neons are fine. The key is to get healthy fish and acclimate very slowly (1 and a half hours at least).

I would check your CO2 levels. 520W is a lot of light. If your CO2 is your limiting factor, then your other nutrients won't be used.
 
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