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Substrate recommendations and red clay pots...

I've been meaning to ask these questions for quite a while. And
have never ever got a satisfying answer for the first. Yeah,
there's no doubt about George Booth's successful soil substrate
which I'm interested in. But the complication. It's been over a
year since I started this hobby. Been using plain gravel so
far. Have successes with most live plants. Would love to try
something new and economic. CND$15 for each 10kg gravel isn't
economic, especially for big tanks. So instead of sticking my
head in the sand, I'd like to ask you who's experienced in soil
substrate to give me a simple, easy-to-understand soil
substrate formula and pointers as to where to get them and,
most importantly, what brands. How long will it last? Location
is Toronto, Ontario, Canada. There are a few gardner centers,
drug stores(just in case, PMDD is needed), and building
suppliers. Somewhere on the 'Net also mentioned a very simple
formula: 2 cups of topsoil per 20g water mixed w/ sandblasting
sand(who sells it? Many don't carry it) and a final layer of
sandblasting sand. This is very close. I can do it. Spare me a
lecture on soil being organic and aerobic. I know the risk.
That's why I'm asking. If necessary, what house plant
fertilizers are used with the soil? Jobe's Sticks, Osmocote and
pond lily tablets are non-existent at Home Depot.

Finally, I'll probably use red clay pots for easy moving and
soil replacement if necessary. Are they safe? If not, what pots


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