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Tap Water Filter - how long does it work?

I live in an area with lousy water and I'm raising cichlids so I'm using the
Tap Water Filter.  The manufacturer says to replace the filter cartridge
when the green color of the resin turns to violet.  Long after the resin has
changed to violet, I've tested the water that comes out of the Filter and
the GH, KH, and pH are all low.  There seems to be a lot of life left in the
filter.  Any one been down this road before?  Do I really need to buy new
filter cartridges?  Is my chemical analysis of the water an appropriate
means of assessing a spent filter cartridge?

Doug Martin