Coleus Forskohlii - A Simple Herb Used in Your Fish Tank
Description of the genus: The scientific name of this plant is Coleus forskohlii, also called Plectranthus barbarius, and the similar synonym Plectranthus flavimaculatus. It belongs to the family of gymnogenaceae, under the classification of Umbelliferae. It is a deciduous grass, which grows in wet fields and swamps. It has been used in treating skin conditions such as eczema, ataxia and dermatitis. It is a very adaptable and hardy grass, able to take hold on almost any terrain.
Location: The origin of this aromatic leafy plant is not clear. It probably originated in southern Germany. It has a wide distribution across Europe and Asia. It can be found in many countries of Central Europe, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Austria, Hungary, Sicily and Florida. It is the most commonly grown plant in Europe. It is quite rare in the United States.
Location and Habitat: This plant is found in ditchesides, meadows, banks and along roads. In dry regions, it is frequently found in fields and along fences. It prefers limestone and chalk. It prefers fertile, cool, shady areas. Leaves are alternate and white, having an unequal base. Flowers, which range from white and lacy to blue-green, open with four alike petals.
General Uses: The leaves are used as a shampoo and poultice, but their oil is most commonly applied to the roots. It is used in salves for skin conditions such as eczema and poison ivy. It has been successfully used in treating menstrual disorders, rheumatism, muscle and joint pain, as well as other illnesses. Local applications on the scalp to help relieve dandruff and itching.
The flowers are used for scent and are used in bathtubs, shampoos, lotions, face washes, and hair care products. It is also used to aid in digestion, as well as to induce menstruation. Its other uses are not fully known.
Suitable Aquarium Conditions: This plant is not sensitive to light or water quality. It does best in full sunlight and receives little to no watering. If you keep it in a shaded area, it will bloom like crazy!
Herbal and Aquatic Botanicals: Several species of wild plants can be used to supplement your aquarium and provide nutritional value. Consult your local pet store for recommendations. However, please note that some nutrients (such as nitrates) can cause damage to wood and corals if used too frequently. These nutrients are usually only used in spot or maintenance amounts and should be avoided altogether.
Information Regarding Safety: This herb is considered relatively safe, however, if you have certain allergies or have a pre-existing medical condition, speak with your vet regarding treatment. This herb should be used by professional aquarium growers. Do not take this herb if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Always speak to a qualified professional before adding a new aquatic plant to your tank. Take precautions to avoid injury to yourself as well as others in the tank.
Care Tips: Here are some care tips to help you get the most out of your aquarium. First, set the temperature you want your fish to live in. It's important to choose a warm-water species for your tank. Second, learn how to properly add the pellets to your tank. You should never put them in directly on the substrate (where your fish would eat). Place them on a small wire basket instead.
There is another version of this herb, called Crateodendron forskohlii. Crateodendron has become popular as a food source for goldfish. As such, it is a good choice for your aquarium, but Crateodendron is not recommended for tanks containing carnivorous species.
It is important to remember that aquariums are meant to be fun. If you become frustrated, this can have negative effects on all aspects of your tank. Learn how to properly care for your fish and stay calm in the face of temptation. You'll be glad you did!
There is an abundance of information available to teach you how to take proper care of C. Forskohlii. The Internet provides access to forums, where others can help you in your preparations. Many species of C. Forskohlii can be kept in tanks with coral. There are even tropical and saltwater versions of C. Forskohlii. All you need to do is decide which version you prefer.