Yes you need a separate timer for them, I use cheap Wal-Mart ones. In the Biocube, there are 5 slots for LEDs, 1 single then 2 banks of 2. The way the Biocube light switches are set up, switch one is master LED
switch, also controls the single LED
slot. Switch 2 is the other 4 LED
slots, switch 3 and 4 are the PCs.
Re: other upgrades
I have left me Biocube mostly stock. I did add a circulating pump, and used the center back chamber as a fuge. With just stock lighting the only corals I haven't had luck with are ricordia, and I think I gave them too much light. My stock list is a mixed bag of soft, polyp, LPS
, and I've had good growth on everything.
Re: protein skimmer
I recently added the one made by Coralife for the Biocube, and it had made a big difference in water clarity, and I'm constantly amazed at the gunk it pulls out of my water.
I used a cheap 50 watt one through the winter, lights will probably be enough to keep temp optimal throughout the summer.
Finally, depending on who you ask, there is no such think as a CUC, a CUC just being something else that eats and poops. Other adhere to the theory of infinite reduction. Personally, I have shrimp, 4 different snail types, emerald crabs and hermit crabs in mine. The shrimp are a PITA at coral feeding time, though easily dealt with. The hermits knock frags over and pick on snails sometimes. Good and bad, no real answer but I think they help.