The coarser media is a bit cheaper than the finer stuff, but both are relatively expensive compared with filter wool or sponges. The problem with using fish food is you can't know how much ammonia those flakes have produced so don't know if it's enough to support new fish. Rinse in a bucket of aquarium water periodically, and if a deeper clean is needed, only do some of the sponges at any one time. They were from a running tank in the store.
You are basically taking shots in the dark. Like carbon, ammonia remove zeolite is widely sold and thus assumed to be useful, but in fact it isn't required in most aquaria.
Sponges are not as good for biological filtration as the best ceramic media, or as effective at removing silt as filter wool. For this reason, buy at least twice as much zeolite as you need, so you can have one batch in the aquarium while another batch is being recharged. Feb 16, Messages:
Are you sure you can't get any ammonia? Our members will do their best to help you in your aquarium endeavors.
You will be entering into a wonderful world of aquatic information, for all aquarists, no matter what their experience level. The problem with cycling as described by the OP is that there is no way to know how much ammonia fish food will create. Just to answer the original question, no you are not cycled, as there is no evidence of nitrate in your tank.
Because sponges are usually designed for a specific filter, they fit the inside of the filter very neatly, providing maximum efficiency. Welcome to Our Community Wanting to join the rest of our members? Only works in freshwater.