Thanks so much for all the replies!
Seems like maybe I should move towards a single dwarf cichlid species, and no Angel. I would probably start with a single large school of cardinal x15. I plan a heavily planted tank with moderate filter rate (sunsun 303B), so I think my tank will tolerate the second school of rummy nose down the road, though will see how the tank fares without. I initially was thinking of cory, though I will have a Monte Carlo carpet and the Cory will dig that up; I will have Amano shrimp as my scavengers though
So here's what I am thinking based on cumulative feedback:
Apisto matched pair/harem (2-3 fish)
Cardinal tetra x15
+/- Rummynose school