Orphek launch OR3 Reef Aquarium LED bars

LED lighting specialist Orphek has released their latest version of their popular lighting bars – the OR3. Following on from the OR2 these 3rd generation lights utilise the same housing and are available in the same two spectrums and four lengths as before.

But this time they’ve been populated with Dual Core 5 watt LEDs which are the same ones as in their latest generation Atlantik V4 2020 fixtures. Power usage remains the same however as Orphek is only running these 5 watt LEDs at 50%, something they say increases the longevity of the diodes and offers minimal par reduction over time.

Orphek has gone from having a cult following in the marine world to much wider availability via distributors and retailers – especially in the UK. The Atlantik is highly regarded by the SPS coral community and the OR2 bars sold really well to people who had Kessil, Hydra, or Radion lighting and wanted to round out their light spread across the entire surface of the tank. As we learn more about spectrum they are also really useful to fill any troughs in the spectrum which weren’t being filled by the user’s current fixtures or settings. And if you have banks of T5, they’ll produce the pop and fluorescence that only LED can.

Lighting junkies are even using them to supplement Atlantik V4 fixtures for crazy par readings and even more pop, and as single row LED light bars go, they’ve got some of the highest par readings, with just two OR3 being necessary to light LPS or soft coral reef tanks on their own, and so offering quality for real value from a lighting brand you can trust with your corals.

Missing features

But like all aquarium LEDs we aren’t just satisfied with par and spectrum, and what we all want, but don’t necessarily need, is control. At this time the OR3, like its predecessors, offers no control or even a gradual ramp up and ramp down, so its a simple on/off, all or nothing. Although if I were running four of them exclusively on a tank, I’d have the Blue Plus come on first and go off last, with the Day Plus providing the whiter light on top, throughout the day, via simple plug-in timers.

Having said that, I’d rather no control than bad control, and marine tech is blighted with software connection issues, causing a massive distraction to the business of looking after livestock.

I would also dearly love to have some basic mounting legs on each end of these bars for simple tank mounting. They do come with a hanging kit and mounts to enable fitting inside a wooden, piano top style hood, but the vast majority of us will be fitting them to rimless tanks and simple, length adjustable legs like the even the beginner marine lighting sector provide seams like a no brainer.

The feedback I’ve had from lots of OR2 users is that the orange LED on the end of the Day Plus and the green LED on Blue Plus models don’t blend well and their unsymmetrical placement on the bar does mean that they stand out in the tank. So more diffuse lensing may help or different population patterns across the bars, in general, could be useful.

But there is still nothing quite like these LED light bars in the high-end reef LED market and they have carved out quite a niche for themselves. Built-in heat sinks also means no fans and no noise, and forever in search of a quieter reefing life I would consider OR3 to exclusively light a tank, all things considered, just so that I don’t have to suffer any fan noise. Again, give me simple side mounting legs and an inline slide, simple dimmer control and you’ll further sway me.

Jeremy Gay

Author of three fishkeeping books and lifelong fishkeeper. Experience includes editor of Practical Fishkeeping magazine, editor of Pet Product Marketing magazine, multi award- winning livestock manager and aquatic store manager.