I'm hesitant to plant the Cichlid tank because I also plan to keep the two plecos with the Cichlids, but if you think it will work I might end up trying it.
And one of the issues is there are so many Cichlids and I don't know exactly what I want yet. But it does look like that doing them in the 29 is a bad idea. So I'll continue as originally planned and do the Barbs in the 29g planted, and put the Cichlids + 2 plecos in the 55 gallon.
If I'm looking at Cichlid/Plecos that are plant friendly what are some colorful options you might suggest beyond the two you mentioned? Also would it be possible to do at least 6?