The big question is: Are you planning on planting the tank?
If so, I'd keep away from discus until you have the planted piece down. While planted tanks and discus can be done. I dont buy into the whole idea that you cant grow big healthy discus in a planted tank (I've done it). But planted tanks require a whole other set of skills and understanding. Read up on this forum about low tech vs high tech, c02 injection, substrate, lighting, fertilization. Ask yourself what kind of plants do you want to keep and how much time do you have in doing the maintenance. Fish are one thing, but plants add another variable to the equation.
+1 on the dwarf cichlids- apistogramma. Great personalities and great colors.
I'll follow the advice and start with growing plants first.
Last thing I need to do is mess up and kill a $200.00 adult show fish.
Look into apistogramma! Dwarf chiclids are gorgeous and they go well with discus. Dwarf chiclids like soft water though as do discus. Dwarf chiclids are my favorite fish at the moment I can't get enough they are so beautiful and full of personality! If you are determined to stay with hard water I recommend trying "shellies" perhaps. I don't know much about them but I'm quite interested in them currently. I wish I could get some. They are little chiclids that live in shells. They may make planting tough though not sure.
Apistos! How is their temperament in a planted tank? Do they uproot stuff? Do they have personality?
What about no bigger fish , just a huge school (maybe 40-50) of smaller tetras , barbs or lampeyes , plus some corys/ottos (20 or so) down below to clean up the mess....
Thats a fantastic idea. I looked into barbs and I could do huge schools of tigers, cherries, and golds in a 180. I like the idea of having some cories too.
Blood Parrots <3
You could always be like me and keep non traditional fish in your tank.
You planing on going high tech or keeping it low tech?
Not sure yet. I'm reading up on this.
If I decide on high tech, I'll start with two 36" T5HO four bulb fixtures and then pick up a Milwaukee regulator and a co2 tank. I used a Milwaukee for a couple of years with a Korallin calcium reactor on my reef for years with no issues. I liked it and I know exactly how to dial it in.
For low tech, I can pick up two 36 inch T5HO TWO bulb fixtures or go LED, and use one of the flourish excel copy cats for carbon.
I get the vibe that high tech tanks are usually more successful for newbies?
As for odd fish, how about an archer? :-D