wow, since the 1980's. The 1st experiment for NASA was in 1996!
--ASGSB 2001 Annual Meeting Abstracts
AUTONOMOUS BIOLOGICAL SYSTEM SPACEFLIGHT RESULTS AND APPLICATIONS. J. E. Poynter, T. K. MacCallum and G. A. Anderson, Paragon Space Development Corporation, Tucson, Arizona.
--- Materially-closed, passively controlled, aquatic life support systems containing vascular plants, invertebrate animals, algae and microbes were tested in four space flight experiments with ground controls. Modifications to the system are under development for the support of developing embryo and fry of the Japanese Medaka Fish, Oryzias latipes, scheduled for launch in May 2002 on STS-107. Termed Autonomous Biological Systems (ABS), the 0.9 liter systems were completely isolated from spacecraft life support systems and cabin atmosphere contaminants, and needed minimal intervention from astronauts. The first experiment, aboard the Space Shuttle in 1996 for 10 days, was the first time that aquatic angiosperms were successfully grown in space. The second and third experiments aboard the Mir space station had 4-month durations, in 1996-97 and 1997-98, and were the first time that higher organisms (Daphnia pulex) completed their life cycles in space. The fourth experiment was launched to the International Space Station on February 26, 2001, and is ongoing at time of writing, more than four months after launch. ABS units from the Shuttle and Mir experiments contained the macrophytes Ceratophyllum demersum, Lemna minor and Wolffia sp, and the invertebrate species Hyallela azteca (amphipod), Daphnia pulex, cyclopoid copapods, ostracods, Physa sp. (snail), and planaria, and returned with all species. The system on ISS contains Halocaridina rubra (shrimp), H. azteca, D. pulex, copepods, ostracods, Helisoma planorbis (snail), chlorophyta and nitrifying bacteria. The ABS are the first completely bioregenerative, closed ecological life support systems to thrive in space, demonstrating their efficacy for research in space biology and gravitational ecology, while utilizing minimal valuable resources such as power and crew time.
Why wouldn't the Opae Ula share his food? Because he was a little shellfish