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If you go for the panda cory option, definitely do quarantine. Pandas are extremely sensitive to stress, so you want to make sure that they aren't showing any illness as a result before putting them in with your current guys.

If you just want the one centrepiece fish, I would get 2 more cories + that fish. That's not really a strain on the bioload and pandas are pretty small, so fitting in 6 wouldn't be a problem.
I agree with not getting a dwarf - they do better in 15 gallons and up, in my humble opinion.

I would choose:
- one honey gourami
- three sparkling gouramis (less of a centrepiece since they are pretty shy)
- 3 male guppies or Endlers Livebearers (because they are social)
- 6 ember tetras (yes, that's a school rather than a centrepiece, but they are so purdy)
- one of the small killifish species (I will be seeing a killi-man tomorrow so I may have a species name for you then)
- a betta (there are peaceful ones out there, there are! You could try a colourful female or maybe even a wild-type, if you can find one that likes the same water as the cories)

Hope this gives some ideas. :)
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