Well i'll start with I began last night dosing spectracide stump remover after a good bit of research on the web about methods of increasing nitrates to a detectable level. like 1 part per million sort of range still very very low but at least detectable.
Occasionally a tank will be up taking more nutrients than your adding. Between water changes and other factors "Red field ratio" balance of p04 n n03 is one term for it. you can actually starve your corals.
After my LPs system went several months without a WC i decided i better make sure my trace elements were in check and did a 15%WC which didn't go very well so a few weeks later i did another. mind you this system is way over stocked with LPS corals. the two yr old 30 gallon red sea 130d holds well over 50 frags fully encrusted plugs and a half dozen torch colonies and six large anemones and six small fish.
So the only ingredient is potassium nitrate in the stump remover which breaks down to potassium and nitrate in the system. both of which are readily uptaken by plants mostly.
The goal here is to feed the zoznathelle algae in the corals tissue the free nitrate so they may fed the coral. They don't need much and they can uptake it rather quickly.
A lot of folks make a stock solution and dose it along with there 2 part system n so forth.
I will set up a schedule based on my uptake in the system and then update the post as I go. Many folks have already done this and documented it so i have a good idea what will be needed. But the key was to recognize that another water change was gonna be a bad thing and stop. I keep pretty good records of the tank parameters on all the systems and they all always run 0 nitrates and 0 phosphates. I do not feed heavy and I am crazy about tank maintenance. That usually means too clean and starved corals. and no algae to speak of.
A good lesson here is 0 isn't best. and know whats your tanks parameters are. and where they should be for the type of coral you are keeping. fish only systems are not an issue with regards to this obviously and 0's make maintenance easier.
I talked to two local store owners about dosing nitrate "n03" on purpose and they all admitted they do use "something" sometimes like Fresh water planted tank liquid nitrate supplements, sometimes iron, sometimes raw ammonia, sometimes more fish food and more fish" time to time to get nitrates "N03" and possibly at the same time other micro nutrients like p04 "phosphate" or K "potassium" to a normal level if they become too depleted on reef systems. The point is to balance the amount of waste your producing with what your corals are up taking and make small corrections if they get out of balance.
A system with tons of frags and no fish and no attached fish system will certainly experience an issue with no raw materials for the coralst to use for building blocks for growth.
A consistent result of 0 nitrates on a reliable test kit for several months and slow if any coral growth may lead you down this same path. fingers crossed.. everyone looks god this morning after the first dose. ill will do three doses then test the water to see if anything is detectable yet. its common for you to dose it daily and the result to men 0 again 24 hours later. which is also the case with iron and iron test kits which need to be tested immediately after you does it as its up taken in the system very quickly.
Wish me luck and add anything you think is relative. I'd love to hear what other folks have done or think about this topic.