Since you are new at this I highly advise not going with cichlids. They may be colourful, but they're territorial and can be difficult to stock and manage unless you do some research first. It's also tough to get variety with them because of this territorial nature. As mentioned there is no reason why you can't go with goldfish just because some other people don't like them. A 55 gallon is certainly big enough to house 3 or 4 fancy goldfish. As far as Tropical fish go you have an unlimited selection. I recommend going to the store and writing down the names of some you like. Do NOT ask the fish store for advice or you'll become just another victim of ignorant and misleading advice. Instead, get back online and start researching the fish you like to see how big they get, what type of environment they need, and what is compatible with them. Don't rush the tank, but take your time and do it right the first time. Boring is in the eye of the beholder and it depends what you're looking for. The first mistake beginners make is that they think more variety leads to the nicer and less boring tank. This isn't necessarily so. A planted tank with 4 specimens of 8 different kinds of tetra's is not nearly as nice as a planted tank with 32 neon's (just as an example). If it were me and the idea was for a community I would do this: 1 largish group of a top dweller (example, danio or red tail rasbora). 1 largish group of a mid dweller (example, almost any smallish tetra) 1 largish group of bottom dweller (example, corydora catfish) 1 or 2 'centrepiece' fish (example, small to mid sized Gourami) As far as cycling goes, you don't need to cycle if you know how to do it right. If you ask the fish store for gravel or filter media from one of their tanks, take it home in a bag of fish water, and then put this into your own filter, you will be introducing live bacteria at the same time as the fish, which means the tank will already be cycled. Just make sure you don't add more fish then bacteria. Aside from that, research 'cycling aquarium' on google and the information available is unlimited. Last thing - don't forget to buy a book so you can learn not only how to set up the tank, but also how to maintain it. Anybody's tank should be worth weekly water changes and vacuuming to keep the water clean and stable and the fish at their healthiest.