the mat is pure clado. it was not grown onto a scouring pad or any other substrate. i had been trying to grow some cladophora algae into a mat for a while now, but it was by complete accident that i learned how.
first of all, i have been keeping hair algae(cladophora) in my E. Gilberti tank for a while now. the fish like to lay their eggs in the fine strands, plus it gives the fry something to hide in until i find them. a few weeks ago, i set up a new tank and added amano shrimp into it to help control the algae while it gets established. after the amanos wiped out all the cyano, i added some clado from the gilberti tank to feed them.
here is where the magic happened; the bubbles from the small filter i had in the new tank kept getting caught in the drifting clumps of hair algae and made them float. since the amano shrimp just went up to the top to eat it, i decided to let it grow. as it grew, it trapped more bubbles and ended up spreading out. it didnt take too long for it to grow into a dense mat of pure hair algae.
when i saw it grew into a dense pad, shredded a marimo ball and sprinkled the algae on top and let it grow for a couple weeks, untill the hair algae started growing up through it. i then flipped it over and let it grow for another week so that the clado from the marimo would grow back up through the mat. the result was a relatively tough pad that has at least two different types of clado in it. when it is cut into thin strips, it keeps its form just as well as a scouring pad would.
by accident and a little experimenting, i have created an algae pad that is easy to scape with.
the algae pad was grown under high ferts, high 24/7 lighting, and CO2 injection. it took about two weeks to go from a golf ball size clump to a mat the size of a dinner plate and about a cm thick.