Welcome to the forum!
Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix is the bagged 'dirt' product I use.
Avoid the bags labeled "potting soil"
MGOCPM (potting mix) contains soils and a large portion of organic material (55-65% by volume). Sphagnum peat moss, composted bark fines, leaves, twigs, wood chips etc. and "pasteurized poultry litter" (cooked chicken crap). 0.10-0.05-0.05
While the contents of the mix can vary obviously to some degree I've yet to experience real trouble using it and find the results in tank to be very consistent so far. I've tanked this bagged dirt mix a number of different ways.
I used egg crate grill material to eliminate gravel creep along the glass
2 Bags (30lb.) Flourite cap
Fill it up 1/3 or 1/2 way and plant it!
If you follow your "decided to definitely do list" you already have more mess ahead than is needed. Wetting first is a mess maker. Pulling materials larger than say silver dollar size if the bag contains it yes but the 'soak and float' is a waste of time and a mess I promise. Posted under my user name (if google missed it
) are about a dozen tanks using MGOCPM.
Also if you stand fast with a 1" soil base and 1" gravel cap within 10 months you will be left with a very shallow plant base remaining in the tank. The soil layer will compact by about 70% once the organic material is broken down.
1.5 to 2" soil layer and the same on the cap (imo).