Since replacing my water heater about 5 years ago I have been paranoid that my new one will leak on me soon since I have a softener and heard that can eat up the rod sooner. I have an American brand water heater and was looking for the anode on top. There was an empty cap that I pulled off and dug up some of the foam and it wasn’t in there so I assumed I had a nipple/combo style rod with the hot water line. I purchased a segmented magnesium blue lighting rod and was able to remove the hot water nipple but there was no rod in there! Where could it be? I decided to install it there anyways as an extra one but as soon as I got the third rod in the tank, it separated/slipped out of the cable and all 3 rods fell to the bottom of the tank. I still installed it and was only left with the 1 rod that connects to the nipple. Will the other rods still work as designed? Do I need to fish those things outta there? Should I replace it again? Any thoughts on where the original anode would be?