So I went to a local fish shop. He had some beautiful fish and they all looked lively. He had very few Betta and they was in your average cups but they looked the best I've seen a shop do with them. I asked him for some substrate. Well he didn't want to give up any for what ever reason. He did give me some dirty water with some particles from his established prize fish tank. All his fish looked immaculate so I trusted they we're disease free. He attained this water by squeezing the sponge filter out. I went straight home spreading it over my filters and some in the general tank water on the tanks. Did this likely seed my tank or did I likely just pour dirty water in my tank?
If it has just been water from the tank, it would have been pretty much useless, but filter gunk like he gave you is good. :) It may indeed have gone some way to seeding the tanks. Make sure there is a source of ammonia in the water to feed the good bacteria you just added.
Yeah I've been doing the fishless cycle. I had nitrites show up two days ago ammonia is 2-4 ppm in the tanks. I stopped by his place because he is a local guy and I just found him. I wanted to see what he had in stock as far tank accessories, plants, and fish to stock my tanks. He was much better priced than the big shops and had much healthier fish. :)
The length of the cycle really depends on how much seeding you do. I've acheived 1 day cycles on all of my tanks because I seed really heavily.
As for fish food, you want to add enough to get 4-5ppm of ammonia.