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Fertilizer poisoning?

This seems unlikely to me, but my fish seem to have reacted to the addition 
of Flourish's liquid iron. Most of the tetras gathered near the top in a way 
I'd never seen them do before, panting. Even my big pleco, which never comes 
to the top, was sprinting up for gulps of air every few minutes. The only 
fish that seemed unaffected were the gouramis, which makes sense to me, as 
they have the extra breathing chamber. I added the amount of iron to my 
55-gal tank that was recommended; should I have tested for iron content 
first? If I'd known this meant buying yet another test kit (for iron), I 
wouldn't have bought this product. While I'm on the topic, can anyone tell me 
exactly what Flourish tabs and Flourish liquid water conditioner are supposed 
to do? I thought these were fertilizers, but the packaging says 
substrate/water "conditioners" only, whatever that means. This board seems to 
swear by Flourish products, but I'm beginning to feel ripped off. But then 
maybe that's because I haven't gotten to the point of  testing/calculating 
the exact composition of my water like so many experts do. I'm no doubt 
missing something. Thanks for any advice.