Good info, KC Fish! You know your shit too!
However, It sounds like Silock wants to go w/ a planted tank. Aren't Cichlids a big no-no w/ plants?
In regards to this... "They're all boring starter fish you'd find at any Petsmart. None of them will get very big, and few of them will have any "personality" that you'd see in bigger fish. They're dumb colony fish."
That's not entirely true. For instance, he could get a few Clown Loaches, (they grow to 12" and do best in groups of 3+), and they are full of personality and beauty. Once I rehome my Common Pleco, I plan on getting 2 more CL's. Here's a pic of mine...