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Sudden SAE death!!!

Dear APD members,

I am hoping I can get some advice from you.  Recently, I rec'd some plants
in trade from other APD members.  They looked to be in good condition,
from tanks that (I assume) had fish in them.  I rinsed them off and put
them in the tank on Thursday night.  The tank was, I would judge,
moderately planted (moderate being between lightly and heavily planted).  
It is a 55 gallon tank, Flourite substrate.  There was an airstone
bubbling 24/7.  I added a Bioplast Nutriflex CO2 tablet.  Everything
looked fine Thursday, everything looked fine on Friday.

On Friday, I added some more CO2 tablets, 2 of them.  I don't use the CO2
chamber that came w/the kit, I dissolved them up the output tube of the
filter (rxn chamber).  Much of the gas didn't make it up the tube, I
thought most of it just fizzled up to the surface and went away.  Five or
6 hours later, everything still looked fine.  The plants were bubbling,
fish ate well and seemed happy (or normal, anway).   Air stone bubbled

This morning, two (of four) of my 2+" SAE are dead.  Recently dead, as no
one has taken a bite out of them.  The other two seem to be all right, and
the other fish (botia loaches, pl*cos, otos) also seem fine.  What
happened?!?!  I got sick when I saw the dead fish.  I haven't lost any
fish in over a year (and the last time, I lost SAE due to tremendous heat
in my apt., I was gone for the weekend and had not set up a fan for the

The pH is between 6-7 according to my test strip.  The airstone has not
stopped bubbling the entire time.  Was it the CO2 (pH swing)?  The
addition of too many plants?  Seems like too much of a coincidence that
two SAE's would die at the same time, there must have been something I

Waaah...  I love those SAE.  And they are gol-darn expensive since I can't
buy them locally.  I don't see them at Uncle Ned's, which is where I have
always bought them in the past - does anyone have a mailorder source they
recommend?  (Or a store local to central NJ?)  

Any advice/suggestions/stores would be highly appreciated,