I vote Black Neons over Penguins anyday, but I don't like tightly schooling fish. I want the activity to be all over the tank, not just in one blob.

What about Black Phantom tetras? I never took much notice of them but I saw them the other day in a friends heavily planted tank and they looked AMAZING. Since seeing that they have climbed to the top of my "must-have" schooling fish list.

Also have you considered Thread-fin or Featherfin Rainbows?

And for your cichlids, I really like my Nannacara anomala.