Marine technology brand ATI Aquaristik has upped its LED game with their latest light unit release.
Named Straton, the thin, square-shaped light boasts 220 watts max power with seven colour channels, across 153 LEDs.
The unit itself is 47x47cm, by just 1.2cm high, making it incredibly thin, and having the kind of slimline profile usually only enjoyed by less powerful LED lights, or aquascaping lights.
ATI has managed to do this by omitting any cooling fans, opting instead for passive cooling, so the large surface area of the unit becomes one big cooling panel and will never suffer from fan noise, dirty fans or fan failure.
I for one crave a quieter aquarium, as nothing spoils your personal slice of nature like noise, be it buzzing, humming or whirring.
The other major advantage with such a large light panel (over 18″ square,) is that you can populate pretty much the whole underside with LEDs, meaning a huge light-emitting area and a much more even light shining downwards, with little or no shadowing.
PAR hotspots should be eliminated, and growing any coral in number underneath it should be more straightforward than trying to light a similar area evenly with a single point source light.
The actual light-emitting area is 40x40cm, so great for reaching the corners of our tanks. Each unit is quoted as being capable of lighting an area up to 70cm, so we could conservatively say that you’d need two units for a 4x2x2′ reef tank, three for a 6x2x2′ and so on.
The OCD lighting junkies may have preferred a slightly smaller unit, as for any tank 45cm front to back or less, the light’s outer edges will overlap the external dimensions of the tank, even if the light panel on the underside, doesn’t.
ATI were T5 pioneers, populating luminaires with 4, 6 or 8 T5 tubes which, when used in combination, provided a very bright, uniform light which proved to be excellent for growing corals. They also know therefore the advantages of wider, flatter lighting coverage.
The Straton has an advertised price of £839.00, which will fit firmly into the budget of high-end reefkeepers who may otherwise be considering the Orphek Atlantic V4 Gen 2, the EcoTech Radion Pro Gen 5, or others.
Information is still scant at this point, with nothing even on the official ATI website yet, but we assume control of the light will be straight to wi-fi, and via an app.
We also hope that the app is easy to use and smooth, as in the era of the smartphone, anything which isn’t intuitive stands out as a massive detractor, with poor software potentially harming the reputation of any LED light, despite the quality of its hardware.
It appears that users will be able to choose LPS or SPS presets amongst others which will be a great help, as even experts question their own programming, especially if corals start to take a dive.
Another neat feature is the ability to divide each panel into three programmable lighting zones, although at this stage we are unclear as to if this will mean separate control of left, centre, right, or outer, inner, centre, etc.
We’re also not sure that, with the whole panel being dimmable (and with seven colour control channels,) if that feature is necessary at all.
The ATI LED hybrid unit enabled a sunrise/sunset from left to right across the length of the light unit, so maybe by using multiple units side by side, the same thing would be possible, with light physically migrating across the tank throughout the photoperiod.
Currently, the unit can only be suspended on wires. This fixing option isn’t as popular as a rear mounting bracket like most other LED lights enjoy, so this may cost ATI some sales. It also only comes in a metallic, aluminium finish.
If I worked at ATI I would be pushing for a black option as its the chassis colour of choice for the vast majority of reefkeepers. Maybe a white option too, both of which they offered with their last LED hybrid units.
The ATI Straton is one of the best looking lights by far. Possibly the best-looking marine LED light unit. It comes from a company who is 100% proven in its ability to design lights which grow corals, only unlike its popular Sun Power, Power Module and LED hybrid units, it doesn’t come with the cooling fans which were so prone to failure.
It’s going to provide a very even, colourful light, which at 220 watts max could also be a very bright light if required. High PAR is the ATI way, and from a company which rightly looked a little reluctant to go fully LED, this unit may pave the way for a much greater market share of marine lighting.
More info when we get it…