I feed the pair for 2 weeks beforehand keeping the water clean. Live, frozen, and high nutrient pellets is what I go for. I feed them more than usual as well, because it encourages them to breed through the instinct of "enough food for fry to live".
As for the water I never found how to "keep it cycled". I find it impossible. So while the pair is in there I clean the water using a siphon, removing waste and being careful of the nest. Once the eggs are laid, the female is removed, and I stay clear of the nest, using a turkey baster to remove waste without lowering the water (nest can stick to the side of the tank, leaving eggs out of water which is not good). When they hatch, and when dad is removed during the free swimming stage I try not to clean for a few days until they are bigger. Then using a turkey baster I clan every day, slowly re-adding water using a drip method.