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The bacteria wont starve and die off. They get first dibs at any ammonia produced due to their location and simple "lifstyles". If there is a problem with the bio-filter or in a brand new tank, then the plants will consume the NH3, NH4 from the food and fish waste. You don't want to rely on the plants because as Shane pointed out, ammonia/m is the biggest food source to algae. That's where the new tank syndrome comes from. Even a tiny unfixed amount of it will cause an algae bloom. The bacteria in the aquarium will convert the NH3, NH4 and NO2 into NO3 so fast that the algae and plants never see it. Plus, this all happens, mostly, in the substrate where only hte bacteria can get at it.

Also, like Shane started, you need a bio-filter as a safety net.
 
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