I looked into it a bit more, it sounds like all it is is gravel previously cycled, its easy to cycle the tank yourself and get the good bacteria in your tank yourself. Its just something they can throw a big price tag on and sell.
As for the conditioner, are you on well water or tap water?
I have tap water and I definitely use the conditioner. My girlfriend does not use conditioner and her fish seems fine so far, she is on tap as well.
I have heard well water is fine without the conditioner.
Overall I recommend using the conditioner, its not expensive and you dont have a big tank. For future reference if you do decide to get the conditioner, put the water in a bucket or something and add the conditioner and let it sit for 24 hours. Make sure the bucket is rinsed thoroughly.