Gonna throw my .02$ in on this one because I have the same problem with Acros after migrating to smaller tanks after running bigger ones for years.
When I had bigger tanks I never had a problem with Acros. Heck, I could keep them growing with just water changes. Then I became an apartment dweller and moved to a couple 20 gals and I haven't had anywhere near the same growth since.
No matter what I keep my water params with dosing nothing helps. I repeat, it doesn't matter. Low nutrient -vs high nutrient, four different brands of salt, three different test kits, slow acro growth. Some of my montis grow kinda slow, others quickly but at least they're growing. I know a lot of other small tank converts with the exact same problem. I betcha if I moved back to my 90gal, hooked up my old reactor, and used the same everything else I'd have Acropora growing out my eye sockets.
Corals are not complex creatures, and they respond to a very narrow range of water conditions. Which leads me to conclude there's water variables we can't test for. One suspect I've been looking at more intently is the ratio of different types of calcium disolved in water and the type / amount of substrate to keep them buffered. I've noted that tanks I've had with strong Acro growth had generous amount of substrate while my old bare bottom tanks had stagnant growth even though calcium levels tested the same. Calcium is present in many forms in sea water, and even more forms in captive tanks where we dose. You have calcium hydroxide (kalk), calcium chloride (dow flakes) and good old calcium carbonate which is supposed to be at saturation level, but is it really? Then there's calcium bicarbonate, which might be the quiet 'ringer' in all this, but no way to test for it.
Sorry for the rambling, but this issue has driven me nuts, and I really think it's caused by calcium / bicarbonate variables we can't test for. The more people try to figure it out the quicker we'll resolve it.