Nothobranchius sp. Caprivi is an undescribed species from Namibia, specifically from the Caprivi Strip which is a tract of land that separates Angola and Zambia from Botswana. They were originally discovered in the Chobe River floodplain by Van der Waal during investigations carried out between 1973 and 1977. It was found in only 3 of 39 locations sampled.
To my knowledge the first importation of this fish was in 1995 when it was collected by Watters, Wood, and Ipple. These fish were found at the Gunkwe locality, one of the original collection sites. They were collected again in 2000 or 2001, but this location did not become widely distributed in the hobby. It was collected once more in 2007 from a location called Salambala.
N. sp. Caprivi is very similar to but distinct from blue forms of N. kafuensis. The body is nearly solid iridescent blue, with irregular red vertical bars. The dorsal fin is heavily marked with red, the anal and caudal fins feature black marginal bands with blue and red submarginal bands. Females are a light silvery-grey and may have some fine dark markings on the body.
One or two pairs of this species can be kept in a 5 gallon aquarium. I prefer large breeding groups whenever possible and keep a number of fish in a 20 gallon tank. Males spar and display, but damage is rarely done.
Water changes of 50-80% are carried out every week. Salt is added at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of water, as this is one species that velvet has been a problem with in my fishroom.
Adults are fed a variety of foods including blackworms, frozen bloodworms, grindal worms, frozen shrimp, and flakes. They are not picky eaters and have good appetites.
Breeding is carried out in typical fashion. If they adults are well fed and the water is clean, they will spawn. I personally use plastic container of some sort with peat or coir. I don’t have a problem with the container floating, and don’t weight them down. They are a prolific spawner, and eggs can be collected weekly. Incubation temperature should be in the mid 70s. The 95-1 strain often hatched in 3-4 months, but the newer Salambala strain seems to have a longer hatching window. I often hatch a small number of fry at 3 months, and then a large number hatch at 7 months.
Fry are somewhat small, but can eat newly hatched brine shrimp. I also feed microworms when I have them as well as golden pearls and decapsulated brine shrimp eggs. As they grow they also get grindal worms and flake food.
Fry growth is quite fast and first signs of sexing out can be seen at 6 weeks. Males often grow faster than females, so separating the fry as they grow can be beneficial. Another reason for separating the fry by size is often I’ll get a few dominant males that will slow the growth of other males. Eventually as the fry mature they all reach a similar size and I put them back into one tank.
Nothobranchis sp. Caprivi is a beautiful, prolific, and relatively easy species to keep. It’s a good next step after keeping some of the easier species with shorter incubation times.