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Neon Tetra and Carbon.

First I'll list my tank info:

25 gal
moderate plants
20 in fishes
ammonia - none detected
nitrite - none detected
pH - between 7.0 and 7.5 (I need a better test kit)
magnum 350 pro (I reduced the output to slow down the flow)
DIY CO2 - yeast

ok, now for some questions and advice

I have 5 neons and one of them is starting to loose the red color, is there
any way to treat this safely in a planted tank? How bad is this disease? I
mean does it infect other fishes.

Second (I tried to search the archive on this but did not find the answer):
Right now I am running the Magnum 350 with only the micron filter with the
foam around it, I also have the two bio-wheels running.  I wanted to know if
this is good, or should I switch back to using the carbon in the filter, I
had read on some newsgroup that carbon and plants don't mix (this was before
I found out about the APD, thanks Dave Gomberg).

Another question: Can anyone suggest a good pH test kit, that is not too
expensive.  The one I have now makes it difficult to tell the colors apart,
and some of the other test kits only went up in .5 increments.

Steve Bansee